Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that the authorities in Ghulja (Yining Prefecture in Chinese) in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) plan to force a six-and-a-half-month pregnant Uyghur woman to undergo an abortion imminently.
Based on information received, the woman, Arzigul Tursun, of Bulaq Village, Dadamtu Township, currently has two children with her husband, Nurmemet Tohtasin. In August 2008, she went into hiding when village officials urged her to abort her pregnancy. After officials threatened to confiscate her family’s property, Tursun returned to her village on November 11. She was then taken to the Ghulja Water Gate Municipal Hospital, where the abortion was planned to take place. On the afternoon of Sunday, November 16, she fled the hospital. She was caught by the police later that day and taken to the Women & Children’s Welfare Hospital, where she is held under guard. Tursun’s father was forced to sign a consent form on Sunday to authorize the abortion.
“It is clear that ill-treatment and violence connected with enforcement of population policies constitute torture under international standards,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of HRIC. “The Committee Against Torture, in its review earlier this month of China’s implementation of its obligations to prevent torture – as well as the UN Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which reviewed China in 2006 – both expressed concern about coercive enforcement of population policies. HRIC urges the Chinese authorities to immediately stop a measure that is tantamount to torture.”
Chinese law allows Uyghurs in the rural areas to have three children, but families in cities are limited to two children. Arzigul is a peasant, but her husband is from the city of Guljia.
For more information on the UN Committee Against Torture’s review of China and ethnic minorities, see: