Byline: Marion Baillot, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
State Department officials and human-rights advocates addressed the issue of the systematic use of coercion by the Chinese government to implement its one-child family-planning policy during a hearing this month of the House International Relations Committee.
Though the 108th Congress is adjourned and the 109th has yet to be sworn in, the hearing was held because of the urgency of a human-rights case, said California Rep. Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
Testimony focused on Mao Hengfeng, a Shanghai woman described by Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, as "a victim of forced abortion whose ongoing attempts to receive justice have resulted in her sentencing to 18 months of hard labor, during which she has been tortured, denied vitally needed medicine, and whose life is in danger today."
Mrs. Mao's troubles with the Chinese government began in the late 1980s when, pregnant for a second time, she asked her work unit to provide larger housing for her growing family. This was refused on the grounds that she was in violation of China's one-child policy.
Probably in retaliation for a hunger strike and protests, Mrs. Mao was confined to a psychiatric facility for six days in February 1989, during which she was given drugs intended to induce an abortion, which failed.
On her return to work, she was fired for "missing too many days of work." She initiated and won a suit for wrongful dismissal, but lost on appeal.
During her legal battle, Mrs. Mao became pregnant a third time. Told by the presiding judge that he would rule in her favor if she terminated the pregnancy, she reluctantly got an abortion in October …