March 8 is International Women’s Day. Women’s Rights Without Frontiers presents the heartwrenching testimony of Yue Zhang, who suffered a late-term forced abortion under China’s One Child Policy in 2013, because she was unmarried. It remains illegal under China’s Two Child Policy for unmarried women to give birth, so these atrocities remain. Ms. Zhang was offered the option to pay an extremely large fine, but this fine was way beyond her reach to pay. The “terror fines” offered by China’s Family Planning Officials can be up to ten times a person’s annual income. They are not a real option for the vast majority of women in China, who are then forced to abort if they cannot pay the fine.
We give special thanks to Women’s Rights in China for connecting us with Ms. Zhang, and to The Heritage Foundation for hosting an event to shine a light on continuing coercion under China’s Two-Child Policy.
Here is the full testimony of Yue Zhang, a young woman of remarkable courage:
My name is Yue Zhang, I was born in Nanjing City in China’s Jiangsu Province in 1985. First, I would like to thank Women’s Rights Without Frontiers (WRWF) for inviting me to speak, and the introduction from Women’s Rights in China (WRIC). I would also like to thank The Heritage Foundation for giving me the opportunity to stand here and tell my tragic experience of forced abortion by Chinese health and family planning officials. It used to be a memory that I was most reluctant to look back at, and even regarded it as extremely shameful. But today I understand that the victim must be brave enough to stand up and tell the truth, and show the world that the Chinese Communist Party’s family planning policy continues to murder, fine and persecute women. Even though the Chinese Communists have modified the policy, the act of harming the women and destroying lives is still continuing to happen.
At the end of August, 2013, I felt nauseous and uncomfortable. I thought I was sick and went to the hospital for a check-up. The doctor told me that I was pregnant. Upon hearing this news, I at first felt surprised and happy — I was at the proper age and always had dreamed of becoming a mother. Every time I saw friends and classmates together with their child, I admired them and wanted to have a child of my own. After the initial excitement, I was also felt worried and frustrated, because I was not married. Moreover, I had separated from my boyfriend before I found out I was pregnant. In China, it is against the family planning policy for unmarried women to give birth to their child. I was worried for the future of my child, worried that he or she couldn’t obtain Hukou (household registration). A child without Hukou is unable to go to school, unable to receive education, and unable to have the rights to get various vaccinations in hospital. That child will also have many difficulties building family and career in the future. Although I had these concerns, my right to become a mother and my desire to protect lives allowed me to continue the pregnancy of my child. I felt happy every time the little baby moved in my womb.
Around 5 months into my pregnancy, the government’s Family Planning Committee found that [that I was pregnant]. One day the neighborhood Committee waited outside my house along with Family Planning Officials. In the beginning they were beat around the bush, but pretty soon they disclosed the real purpose of the visit: to persuade me that, in my situation, I had to either perform abortion or pay a large “social maintenance fee.” After that, they left my house to let me think through my options. Read more.