AI URGENT ACTION: THOUSANDS AT RISK OF FORCED STERILIZATION

Local officials aim tosterilize 9559 people by 26 April, some against their will, in a driveto meet family planning targets in Puning City, Guangdong Province, southernChina.  

According to reports in theChinese media, on 7 April the local authorities in Puning City began aspecial campaign to sterilize people who already have at least one child,to ensure that local birth control quotas are met. The local authoritiesclaim that by the end of 11 April, the 20-day campaign had already met50 per cent of its target. A local doctor, quoted in the Chinese media,said that his team was working from 8am until 4am the next day performingsurgeries for sterilization. Local reports suggest at least some peopleare not freely consenting to being sterilized. Amnesty International considersforced sterilizations carried out by officials to amount to torture andthe haste of the procedures raises questions about their safety and possiblehealth impacts.In addition, the Puning City authoritieshave detained 1377 family members of couples targeted for sterilization.Most of the detained are elderlyand some are held in cramped conditions in houses which the local authoritiesare using temporarily as unofficial places of detention. This is widelyseen to be a mechanism to pressure their relatives to undergo sterilizations.The Puning City local authorities havedefended the campaign saying that there are large numbers of migrant workerswho are of childbearing age in the area and that some of the residentshave misunderstood and hence not complied with the family planning regulations.PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELYin English, Chinese or your own language:ensure that anyone undergoingsterilization does so only with her or his informed consent in a contextwhere she or he has a genuine option of denying consent and of not beingsterilized ensure that surgeries forsterilization are undertaken under safe medical conditionsimmediately stop the detentionof family members and threatening such detention to induce individualsto ‘consent’ to being sterilizedinvestigate whether the birthcontrol officials have “infringed on a citizen’s personal rights, propertyrights or other legitimate rights and interest” or “abused power” intheir pursuit of birth quotas, and if the act constitutes a crime, referthem for criminal prosecution and a trial in line with international fairtrial standards without recourse to the death penalty; refrain from taking punitivemeasures against children considered ‘illegal’ and who are non-registeredor the relatives of individuals who have had children in contraventionof family planning policiesPLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE26 APRIL 2010 TO:Chairman of the Puning CityPopulation and Family Bureau Hong Yuliang Zhuren Liushajianshe Zhongduan Puningshi 515300 GuangdongshengPeople’s Republic of ChinaFax: +86 663 2900055 Email: pnjs@puning.gov.cnSalutation: Dear ChairmanPuning City MayorChen Shengliang Shizhang Puningshi Zhengfu BangongdalouNanqu Puningshi 40609 Guangdongsheng People's Republic of ChinaFax: +86 663 2246909 Email: pnxxzx@puning.gov.cn  Salutation: Dear MayorAnd copies to:Secretary of the Jieyang CityParty CommitteeChen Hongping Shuji Jieyangshi Jiguan BangongdayuanLinjianbeilu Jieyangshi 522000 GuangdongshengPeople's Republic of ChinaEmail: Email:jyqn311@163.comSalutation: Dear SecretaryAlso send copies to diplomaticrepresentatives accredited to your country. Please check with yoursection office if sending appeals after the above date.

Additional Information

In September 2002,China introduced a Population and Family Planning Law in a stated attemptto standardize policies and practice in the implementation of family planningpolicies across the country and to safeguard citizens’ rights. For example,coercion in implementation of the policy is forbidden by law. However,local birth quotas, upheld by stiff penalties as well as rewards, playa prominent part in the policy. Reports of coerced abortions and sterilizationshave continued and few officials are believed to have been brought to justiceor punished for such abuses.In March 2007, approximately30 delegates to theChinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an official advisorybody, supported a proposal calling for an end to China’s restrictive familyplanning policies. The head of the State Population and Family PlanningCommission did not rule out a future relaxation, but stressed that no changewould be made for at least the next four years. Children born outsidethe quota are not issued residency registration documents known as hukou.Without hukou, they have no access to health care, education orother social security provisions. In addition, the local authorities inPuning have stated that they will not be accepting the applications forbuilding houses by families that have more than the allowed number of childrenor their relativesAccording to the Puning Citygovernment website, Puning has a population of 2.228 million. Accordingto reports in the Chinese media, Puning City's campaign also includes publiceducation on birth control policy.Amnesty International considersas forced sterilization any case in which informed consent is not possible– for instance, under circumstances when someone is made to agree to beingsterilized by use of coercion or threats of coercion, including in regardof the detention of relatives or denial of permission to build a houseor non-registration of children. Forced sterilizations carriedout by family planning officials or others acting in an official capacityare grave violations of physical and mental integrity and violate the prohibitionof torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.  ConsideringChina’s fourth periodic report, the UN Committee against Torture in December2008 called on the Chinese government to “implement [its] population policyin full compliance with the relevant provisions of the Convention and prosecutethose responsible for resorting to coercive and violent measures in implementingsuch policy.”At the 1994 InternationalConference on Population and Development, governments agreed that:All couples and individualshave the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing andtiming of their children and to have the information and means to do so,and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductivehealth. This includes their right to make decisions concerning reproductionfree of discrimination, coercion and violence, as expressed in human rightsdocuments.The aim of family-planningprogrammes must be to enable couples and individuals to decide freely andresponsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the informationand means to do so and to ensure informed choices and make available afull range of safe and effective methods. The principle of informed freechoice is essential to the long-term success of family-planning programmes.Any form of coercion has no part to play. Governmental goals for familyplanning should be defined in terms of unmet needs for information andservices. Demographic goals, while legitimately the subject of governmentdevelopment strategies, should not be imposed on family-planning providersin the form of targets or quotas for the recruitment of clients.Governments should secureconformity to human rights and to ethical and professional standards inthe delivery of family planning and related reproductive health servicesaimed at ensuring responsible, voluntary and informed consent and alsoregarding service provision. International Conference on Population andDevelopment, Cairo, Egypt, 1994, UN Doc. A/CONF.171/13, paragraphs 7.3,7.12 and 7.17

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