The husband of a Chinese woman whose forced abortion triggered outrage has headed to Beijing and is working with lawyers to seek compensation, a human rights activist said Monday.
Chinese authorities, who restrict most families from having more than one child, last month forced Feng Jianmei, seven months pregnant, to undergo an abortion in northern Shaanxi province after she failed to pay a hefty fine.
While activists say that such cases are common, Feng's case drew widespread attention due to pictures of the bloody corpse of the fetus. Unusually, state media reported on the case and said that several officials had been punished.
Feng's husband, Deng Jiyuan, was later reported to have gone missing. But Bob Fu, the head of the Christian advocacy group ChinaAid, said that Deng slipped past surveillance and headed to Beijing.
A lawyer representing Deng sent a letter to authorities in Shaanxi over the weekend to request an investigation and the awarding of compensation, Fu told a congressional hearing.
Fu said Deng had suffered retaliation over the uproar while still in Shaanxi and that the government "sent people to display a banner in front of their home that read, 'Beat up traitors, run them out'" of town.
"Feng Jianmei's tragedy is repeated hundreds and thousands of times each day in China," Fu, who lives in exile in the United States, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"Those abusive officials should be held accountable according to international law for their evil, illegal behavior in harming women and unborn babies," he said.
Deng's flight to Beijing comes two months after one of China's most prominent dissidents, Chen Guangcheng, also slipped to the capital following his accounts of abuse at the hands of local authorities.
Fu and Representative Chris Smith, who chaired Monday's hearing, helped bring international attention to Chen who dramatically called a session in Washington to voice fears for his safety.
After a visit to Beijing by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chen was allowed to fly to New York. Chen had angered authorities by exposing corruption by local authorities in enforcing the one-child policy.
On Monday, lawmakers again heard testimony via telephone -- this time from a woman, Guo Yanling, who said that she fled to Bangkok with her family and is seeking refugee status after undergoing a forced abortion.
Guo said that she has three children but that she and her husband -- who was said to have been forcibly sterilized -- have lived on the margins for the past 21 years trying to escape the attention of authorities.
An emotional Guo said that she was eight months pregnant in 1995 when she went out to buy breakfast in the southern city of Nanning. She said she was approached by a woman who asked her if she had a "birth permit."
After Guo replied that she did not, she said that two vans whisked toward her and family planning workers ordered to come inside. She said that she cried for help but that a man said, "It's useless to yell anything. Whoever dares rescue you will be taken as well."
Guo said that the workers stuffed her mouth with a rag meant to clean cars and that she was taken to a hospital full of women whose eyes were "filled with tears of anxiety, terror and sadness."
Guo said that she was pinned down by force onto a bed and that a woman pressed her belly "and felt the position of my baby's head."
"She stuck a big, long, fatal needle deep into my abdomen, possibly where the baby's head was. 'Stop thrashing around!' she ordered, and then left."