A photo showing a foetus whose mother was forced to have an abortion has shocked China web users. Feng Jiamei, from Shaanxi province, was made to undergo the procedure in the seventh month of pregnancy, local officials said after investigating. Ms Feng was forced into the abortion as she could not pay the fine for having a second child, US-based activists said.
Because she already had a child, said Feng, local birth-control authorities ordered her to pay a fine of £4,000. She didn't have the money, she said, so a team from the local family planning authority in Shannxi province came to collect her from her home and take her to hospital for the forced abortion.
Recounting the horror, Feng said she told the family planning department she could not pay the fine because her mother-in-law needed money for cancer treatment. It was then, she claimed, the authorities began their action against her.
She said no less than 20 staff from the family planning department came to her home and placed her under arrest. As they drove her to the hospital for a forced abortion, she began to resist - resulting in her being beaten.
Rights groups say China's one-child policy has meant women being coerced into abortions, which Beijing denies.
"Feng Jianmei's story demonstrates how the One-Child Policy continues to sanction violence against women every day," said Chai Ling of the US-based activist group All Girls Allowed.
The group says it spoke to Ms Feng and her husband Deng Jiyuan after the incident. Mr Deng said his wife had been forcibly taken to hospital and restrained before the procedure.
Correspondent Jon Sudworth in Shanghai says such allegations are nothing new in China, but what has made this one different is a widely circulated photo of the woman lying next to the baby's corpse. Media reports from China says Ms Feng has been traumatized by what has happened. Chinese law clearly prohibits abortions beyond six months.
Unnamed local officials in Zhenping county - where the incident took place - denied forcing Ms Feng to have the abortion, local media reports say. But a preliminary investigation by the Shaanxi Provincial Population and Family Planning Commission confirmed the forced abortion had taken place. Without naming Ms Feng, it said in a statement that the woman had been seven months pregnant.
"Such practice has seriously violated the relevant policies set by national and provincial family planning commissions, which harmed the image of our family planning work, and caused extremely poor effects in society," said the statement. "Based on the findings, we have requested the local government to punish the relevant officers according to law," it said.
The photo circulated around the world via the internet has sparked outrage among world citizens and there is ample evidence of this on the internet today. Activist Chen Guangcheng, who was put under virtual house arrest for campaigning against forced abortions, fled China to the US last month. I don't blame him for going somewhere he can speak his mind freely without persecution. I hope he does not give up his cause.