Rural woman files first lawsuit on forced sterilization in China

江西农妇被强制结扎 发起诉讼第一案

Source: Caixin 财新网 January 9th 2015

Two years ago Xia Runying, a female farmer in Jiangxi province, was forcibly sterilized by the local family planning committee in the form of tubal ligation surgery where a woman’s fallopian tubes are clamped, blocked, severed or sealed. After the surgery, her health worsened and she filed a lawsuit against the committee, asserting that the surgery was illegal and seeking compensation; the first such case in China.

At 5 am on the 10th of April 2012, 20 representatives of the Dayuan County family planning committee and the Huanglong township government entered Xia Runying’s home without warning and took her to the Dayuan family planning service centre. There she underwent tubal ligation, despite repeatedly refusing it. The author writes that in the year after her surgery, Xia was spitting blood, had pain in her lower back, was dizzy and suffered from vomiting. In April 2014 she was diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome, a painful condition caused by varicose veins in the lower abdomen.

Xia is requesting compensation for her medical and nursing fees as well as the psychological damage incurred. The local family planning committee has acknowledged her illnesses but refutes the claim that they were caused by the surgery. However, the basis of Xia’s claim is that under Chinese law, forced ligation is illegal. Although she and her husband signed for the surgery, they claim to have done so under duress and unaware of the full situation.

The court has seven days to decide whether to accept Xia’s case. Her lawyer believes that there is a good chance of the case being accepted as courts often handle cases such as this where the law has been broken.

Translated by Patrick Burton

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