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Thursday, 18 July, 2002, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Taiwan and China in abortion row
Chinese woman with her child
China enforces a strict one-child policy
Taiwanese officials say pregnant Chinese women who are married to Taiwanese men have been ordered to have abortions on visits home to comply with the mainland's one-child policy.

At least six such women were harassed, fined or told to have abortions or sterilisation procedures, officials with Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation said.


We don't know for a fact if anyone was truly forced to have an abortion because they keep it private

Patricia Lin
Straits Exchange Foundation

Taiwan maintains that since the children would have residency rights in Taiwan, the women should not be subjected to China's population-control measures.

Marriages between Taiwanese and Chinese have been on the rise, as more people from Taiwan - which China sees as a renegade province - visited the mainland in the 1990s.

About 150,000 Chinese are believed to have married Taiwanese, but Taiwan only allows about 3,600 a year of them to settle on the island.

Extended stays

However, Taiwan is now allowing pregnant Chinese women married to Taiwanese men to lengthen their temporary permits and stay until after their children are born - to avoid coerced abortions in China.

It is not known if any of the six reported incidents ended with an actual forced abortion.

"The victims only described what the Chinese officials told them to do, but we don't know for a fact if anyone was truly forced to have an abortion because they keep it private," said Patricia Lin, the Straits Exchange Foundation's legal director, according to the Taipei Times.

As the two countries have no formal relations, Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation - which governs its contacts with the mainland - raised the complaints with China's Association for Relations Across Taiwan Straits, its equivalent on the mainland.

See also:

15 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
27 Feb 02 | Americas
09 Jan 02 | Media reports
23 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
28 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
19 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
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