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A devastated couple have told how they were forced to abort their child just three months before he was due to be born because they fell foul of China’s one child policy.
Zhou Guoqiang and his wife Liu Xinwen lost their son last week after authorities from the Shandong Province Family Planning Commission forced their way into their home.
Liu was physically dragged to a nearby hospital where she was injected with an abortion-inducing drug.
Speaking exclusively to Sky News, Liu gave this message to her dead son: “Baby, I’m sorry. We were not meant to be. You rest in peace in heaven. We will pray for you. We hope your next life is better.”
Zhou showed the channel pictures of his son’s body – in a bucket by the bed – pointing out: “His nose, ears, mouth are all there. It is a child that would have lived if not for the forced abortion. It’s because of their cruelty. Look, his hand is very obvious.”
The couple, who already have a ten-year-old son, fell pregnant despite the fact Liu was fitted with a state-prescribed coil after having her first child.
They had planned to have the second child and offer to pay a fine.
China brought in a one child policy as a means of slowing the birth rate in 1979. It restricts married, urban couples to having one child, with exemptions allowed for rural couples, ethnic minorities and parents without siblings.
The case is reminiscent of an incident last year in which a woman was forced to abort her child at seven months.
Photos of Feng Jiamei, 27, lying in a hospital bed next to the bloody body of her aborted child began circulating online in June.
Abortions after the sixth month of pregnancy are prohibited in Chinese law.
US-based activists claimed the 23-year-old was forced to have the termination because she couldn’t pay the £4,000 ($6,320) fine for having a second child.
Feng reportedly received an apology from officials after a probe was launched by China's National Population and Family Planning Commission.
In August it was reported that Chinese authorities were examining proposals to lift the ban on a second baby, should either parent be an only child.
If implemented, the move could see an extra 9.5 million births every year and the baby boom would be a means of addressing the financial effects of an ageing society, as well as potential workforce shortages.