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Photographic evidence

Chinese blogosphere lit up with attacks on the country's one-child policy

Issue: "2012 Books Issue," July 14, 2012

The Chinese blogosphere lit up with attacks on the country's one-child policy in June after a graphic photo of a 27-year-old Feng Jaimei lying next to her dead 7-month-old fetus went viral.

Feng's husband Deng Jiyuan told reporters that family-planning officials took his pregnant wife from their home on June 2 after they couldn't pay the 40,000 yuan ($6,280) fee for a second child. The couple already had a 5-year-old daughter.

Deng said they restrained her, forced her to sign an agreement, and injected her at Zhenping county hospital. Feng lost her baby two days later. Chinese law prohibits abortions after six months.

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The photo sparked outrage on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter, with tens of thousands of angry comments about the photo. The strong online response led the Ankang City government to suspend three officials as it reviews its family-planning operation, according to government-run Xinhua news. City officials also apologized to Feng and her family.

The incident started new discussions about the one-child policy through social media. One Chinese writer, Zhao Chu, blogged: "This is not about enforcing the policy, it is about depriving someone's right to live. We avoid the nature of it by using the medical word 'enforced abortion.' For so long family planning seems like something completely irrelevant of human life. It's like coal mining or digging mushrooms. Human life has become lifeless indexes, some cold, meaningless numbers."

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