China Aid Association
(Changsha, Hunan–March 17, 2013) One of the pregnant Chinese women who made international headlines last summer when family planning officials tried to forcibly abort her at five months has given birth to a boy and written a thank-you letter to U.S. Congressman Chris Smith for his personal intervention that helped assure her safety.
In a short video edited and produced by Women’s Rights in China and translated by ChinaAid, Cao is shown being visited by a representative of Women’s Rights in China and showing off her infant son, who was born on Oct. 15, 2012.
Cao was five months pregnant on June 6 when family planning officials and other government officials in Changsha dragged her to a hospital, beat her, and were ready to force her to have an abortion. However, because of a number of problems, including no available bed space at the hospital, Cao was transferred to a nearby hotel and placed under house arrest pending an abortion.
Due to the timely intervention of ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu, who personally contacted the local officials and helped draw international attention to the case, and of Congressman Smith (R-N.J.), who wrote directly to the local government condemning their actions, the planned abortion never took place.
See these earlier reports:
Cao and her husband have named their son, their only child, Dahai, which means “help from overseas.” She is shown in the video holding their son as her husband signs a letter of thanks to Smith for his vital role in their case. The letter was delivered to Smith in Washington, D.C. earlier this month by a volunteer for Women’s Rights in China.
However, as the video reports, the family still faces looming problems, including a US$15,000 fine for the unauthorized birth and the fact that their son’s birth cannot be registered. In China’s authoritarian system, this means his existence is not recognized by the government and he cannot get a government-issued identification card, which is required for all basic activities of a citizen, including attending school, opening a bank account and even getting medical care.
Below is a transcript of the video:
Cao Ruyi: A Road With Thorns and Briars
According to the “2010 China Health Statistical Yearbook,” in the 30 years from 1980 to 2009, 286 million women have had an IUD implanted in them, one hundred million operations of ligation of the oviduct have been performed, and 275 million abortions have been performed. How many cases of sequelae from implantation of IUDs, sterilizations, abortions, and induced labor are not known.
In China every woman becomes a suspect in the eye of the government as soon as she becomes pregnant and is under the close surveillance of the relevant authorities. Once it is determined that she carries an extra child, she faces forced abortion, sterilization operations, huge fines and personal insults….
Among thousands upon thousands of pregnant women in China, Cao Ruyi is a rare blessed woman. Just because she didn’t have a childbirth certificate, family planning cadres of Kaifu District, Changsha City, Hunan Province leading over ten assistant police officers (security police officers temporarily hired by the government) broke into the house of Cao Ruyi on June 6, 2012. By force they put the 5-month pregnant Cao Ruyi into a vehicle and took her to Hunan Provincial Maternal and Child Care Service Center, planning to forcefully induce labor, thereby aborting her unborn child. (Note: The identification inside the vehicle said, “Hunan Provincial Department of Public Health.”)
Providentially, the hospital did not have a vacant bed, so the people in charge of “family planning affairs” placed Cao Ruyi under house arrest until a hospital bed became available. During the interim, Cao was detained in a hotel in the vicinity of the Provincial Maternal and Child Care Service Center. The local family planning office rented three hotel rooms especially for people awaiting abortion in the Maternal and Child Care Service Center.
After Cao Ruyi’s husband exposed the unfolding incident, human rights organizations in the world began to voice their support for Cao’s family. Women’s Rights in China (WRIC), headquartered in New York, immediately organized volunteers who went to Changsha, Hunan Province. They found Cao Ruyi was being given saline solution intravenously because of a bowel condition.
Ms. Cao’s husband notified ChinaAid president Dr. Bob Fu about the situation. Bob Fu in turn directed the family planning officer to cease threatening Mrs. Cao with a forced abortion and instructed this officer not to take her to the hospital again; however, he also offered that China Aid Association would pay a portion of the fine against the couple. Bob also informed U.S. Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey of the circumstances.
On June 7, 2012, Congressman Smith sent an urgent letter to the relevant leaders in
Hunan Provincial Government and in Changsha Municipal Government, strongly demanding that those departments immediately stop the inhumane forced abortion on Ms. Cao.
Zhang Yan (transliteration), director of the family planning office of Hongshan Tourism Bureau of Kaifu District, can be seen sitting in the vehicle. Zhang Yan threatened Cao Ruyi: “You sent out information abroad to exert pressure on us! I will thoroughly investigate this incident. I have many friends in the army and I will handle this matter with my own approach!”
After the incident, Cao Ruyi told the volunteers of Women’s Rights in China: “Three men dragged me there. I asked them: ‘Where are you taking me?’ None of them uttered a word in reply.” Because of pressure from both China and abroad, because a hospital bed was not available, and because Cao Ruyi was not feeling well, the family planning officials had to postpone the brutal abortion. They forced Cao Ruyi to sign a “Notice of Terminating Pregnancy with a limited period of time,” which demanded that she terminate the pregnancy before June 6, 2012.
They also received a bail of 10,000 yuan (approximately $1,500) on the termination of the pregnancy. If the pregnancy was not terminated during this period of time, Cao could face a fine of over 100,000 yuan ($15,000). Exhausted after five days of detention and pressure, Cao Ruyi caved in to the pressure and signed the notice. On the tenth of June, Ms. Cao went back home accompanied by her husband and volunteers from Women’s Rights in China.
(Cao Ruyi): In a word, the officials did everything by force. Force! Nothing but force! It’s like structure demolitions and forceful removals in the past. No matter what happens, we the citizens don’t have a say in this matter!
(Cao Ruyi’s husband, Li Fu): “I was on the phone when they dragged her by force to get an examination. I hung up the phone and went over to stop them. I told them she is an older pregnant woman and said, ‘You can’t drag my wife like that,’ that they must let her go. My wife then went over by herself. After entering the lobby, my wife wanted to rest. Then, the three men again dragged her to have an examination, but again I went over to stop them. An employee became violent toward me and hit me on my shoulders twice with his fist.”
On the evening of June 12, after the volunteers of Women’s Rights in China and Cao Ruyi and her husband discussed the matter, they quietly transferred Cao Ruyi to a secret location where she stayed until her child was born.
On October 15, 2012, the volunteers of Women’s Rights in China learned a healthy and lovely baby boy had been born. He is the only child Cao Ruyi and her husband, Li Fu, have had.
In December 2012, two volunteers from Women’s Rights in China visited Cao Ruyi, her husband and their little baby. One volunteer gave Cao Ruyi and her child a 300 yuan donation from a reader in America.
Cao Ruyi recalls how her husband was treated violently at the time.
The volunteer introduced U.S. Congressman Chris Smith and Bob Fu from China Aid Association.
Li Fu, Cao Ruyi’s husband, signs a letter of thanks to Congressman Smith.
A volunteer from Women’s Rights in China reads the letter of thanks.
The letter of thanks from Cao and her husband to Congressman Smith.
According to Cao Ruyi, she wants her child to remember that his life was preserved because of the support from kind-hearted people overseas. Therefore, she named the child Li Dahai, which means “our help came from overseas.”
However, Cao Ruyi’s family faces big trouble ahead–a large fine of $15,000 and a required household registration for the child. The volunteer talks about the legal issues concerning the fine; she would like to provide legal assistance to the family. Cao Ruyi is most concerned about the child’s future household registration because he won’t be permitted to attend an elementary school, otherwise.
Cao Ruyi’s family also faces a huge fine. So, the road ahead is still full of “thorns and briars.”
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]