Hong Zhenzhen: Forcibly Sterilized Because of the One-Child Policy

November 15, 2010


There are many methods of contraception, so why did Hong Zhenzhen have to be sterilized?  In order to ensure the implementation of China’s One-Child Policy, many local family planning laws require women who have had a second child to be sterilized. If refused, the second child is denied citizenship, which in effect forces many women to be sterilized.  Hong Zhenzhen is just one of the millions of women who are forced to be sterilized.


Hong Zhenzhen lives in a village off of Rui’an city, Zhejiang province. On September 5, 2006, after receiving sterilization surgery, her right thigh went numb and she was unable to stand.  She was told that this was just a side effect of anesthesia and went home. Later, after she recovered, she was still not able to put weight on her thighs. She has sought medical care in Beijing, Hangzhou, Wenzhou and was diagnosed with pelvic congestion varicose veins, as a post-operative complication.


Hong Zhenzhen asked the Rui An Family Planning Board for birth control post-operative medical compensation. In May 8, 2007 after assessment by the Family Planning Commission of  Wenzhou City, the conclusion was: Hong Zhenzhen does have complications from sterilization. Hong Zhenzhen now has a chronic illness that also led to depression, loss of functional status, inability to raise her children—all of which has also had negative effects on her marriage.


Before the medical compensation by the Family Planning Board, Hong Zhenzhen spent 30,000 yuan for medical treatment, 18,000 yuan in travel expenses, and she continues to spend thousands of yuan for medical expenses and travel expenses even after compensation. The Rui An Family Planning Bureau continues to only give some compensation for Hong’s medical expenses. In August 2009, after reimbursement of her medical bills, she still had to 15,000 yuan in bills that were not covered by the compensation.


Hong Zhenzhen's treatment continues, the plight on her family is not just financial, this surgery has turned a peaceful and quiet family into one that is not so quiet and peaceful anymore.  Now, the family is caught in endless struggles, from continuous visits to the hospital to endless trips to the government to request compensation to the physical pain and mental suffering.

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