Puning City health authorities are planning to sterilize almost 10,000 people in southern China over the next four days as part of a "population control program."
Chinese media reports say that Puning health authorities in Guangdong Province have begun a special campaign to sterilize people who have at least one child in order to make sure local birth control quotas are met. The rule of one child per family has been in force for decades in China, but many families have skirted around the rules, especially in rural areas.
Now with this campaign, many of the people are being forced against their will to submit to sterilization.
Chinese newspapers are reporting that people who refuse the sterilization procedure are having their family members, including elderly mothers or fathers, taken away and detained. Over 1,300 people are reportedly locked up now. Detainees are required to listen to lectures about the rules limiting the size of families.
Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: "Forced sterilization amounts to torture, and it is appalling that the authorities are subjecting people to such an invasive procedure against their will. Reports that relatives are imprisoned as a means of pressurizing couples into submitting to surgery are incredibly concerning. The Puning City authorities must condemn this practice immediately and ensure that others are not forcibly sterilized."
Huang Ruifeng, father of three girls, told a local paper:
"Several days ago, a village official called me and asked me or my wife to return for the surgery. Otherwise they would take away my father."
When he refused, his father was taken away and detained by the authorities.
The sterilization campaign began on April 7 and is supposed to be completed by April 26. A Puning doctor said that his team was working from 8am until 4am the next day performing surgeries for sterilization. The haste of the procedures are raising questions about their safety and possible health impacts.