At least 7,000 people in eastern China were forcibly sterilized earlier
this year by officials under pressure to limit the growth of the country's massive
population, Time magazine reported in an edition published yesterday.
Quoting lawyers who spoke to local family-planning officials, the magazine
said that between March and July, 7,000 people underwent forced abortions and
sterilizations in Yinan County, Shandong Province.
"They told me they were doing this for my own good. But they have
ruined my life," Time quoted one woman as saying, who the magazine said
had endured forced sterilization.
The magazine said that officials in Linyi City denied any improper program.
It further reported that the lawyers alleged that several villagers were beaten
to death while under detention for trying to help family members avoid sterilization.
In March, the report said, distraught peasants had complained to a local legal
activist, Chen Guangcheng, about the forced sterilizations and the detention
of family members.
Many people in his village, he told Time, had been imprisoned for defying
the sterilization order.
Chen, the report said, was placed under house arrest by mid-last month after
he filed a class action against Linyi officials accusing them of contravening
the national family-planning law.
"I know I'm at risk, but I cannot give up, because people are depending
on me," Chen told the magazine.
China's population reached 1.3 billion earlier this year and the demographic
explosion is putting pressure on already insufficient natural resources and
It is expected to increase by about 10 million people annually to reach a peak
of 1.46 billion in the mid-2030s, state media quoted population experts as saying
Beijing introduced its controversial one-child policy more than 25 years ago,
and state officials have credited the program with delaying by four years the
point at which the country's population hit the 1.3 billion mark.
But Time said that officials in the provinces have resorted to forced sterilizations
and late-term abortions to keep the population in check.
The report said that career advancement for local leaders, especially in rural
areas, often depends on keeping birthrates low.