Authorities confirmed yesterday that a woman was forced to abort seven months into her pregnancy, several days after her plight came to light when images of her baby's corpse were posted online.
Rights groups have blamed authorities in northern Shaanxi province for forcing Feng Jianmei to abort her pregnancy because she failed to pay a hefty fine for exceeding China's strict "one- child" population control policy.
The Shaanxi provincial government said that a preliminary probe confirmed it is "basically true" that the incident happened.
Investigators have recommended that action be taken against the perpetrators.
"This is a serious violation of the National Population and Family Planning Commission's policies, jeopardizes the population control work, and has caused uneasiness in society," the provincial government said on its website.
The government did not pinpoint exactly who the perpetrators were, but vowed to avoid a repeat of such a case, which it said was against regulations in effect since 2001 banning late-term abortions.
Mainland web users have reacted in anger to the abortion, with one comparing it to acts perpetrated by "Japanese devils and Nazis," after photos online showed Feng lying on a hospital bed next to the blood-smeared body of her baby.
Blind activist Chen Guangcheng, who recently left China for the United States, was once jailed after angering local officials for bringing to light hundreds of forced abortions.
Abortions peaked in 1983 with a total of 14.37 million terminations. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE