A Chinese city government has apologized to the alleged victim of a forced abortion. It has also dismissed three officials amid inquiries into the case.
Local officials in the city of Ankang, in China's Shaanxi province, released a statement on Friday in response to an investigation into the case, saying the deputy mayor apologized in person to the woman. The local family planning commission had apparently forced her to undergo an abortion.
"Today, I am here on behalf of the municipal government to see you and express our sincere apology to you. I hope to get your understanding," the city official told the victim and her husband.
He also said the head of the family planning bureau and two other officials had been suspended after an initial investigation into the case.
Skepticism lingers despite the city government's actions.
"They're just pulling a trick to deal with the public. It's just a pretense," Liang Zhongtang, a demography expert at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Associated Press, adding that he expected the government to drop the woman's case as it had past cases. "Things have always been like this. Nobody will be fired," he said.
Official reaction after photos go viral
Feng Jianmei, 27, and her husband received a visit from Deputy Mayor Du Shouping on Thursday night, according to the AP.
The apology came after an initial investigation into Feng's claims of undergoing an abortion against her will.
Feng was seven months pregnant with her second child when the local family planning commission reportedly took her by force to a hospital for an abortion on June 2. She had broken the law by not paying the 40,000 yuan fine (about 5,000 euros; $6,300) for having a second child, according to the state Xinhua News Agency.
The case drew widespread attention and outrage when photos of Feng and her aborted fetus appeared online.
Chinese law restricts most mothers to having only one child. It also prohibits abortions after the sixth month of pregnancy.
The Chinese government introduced a one-child limit in 1980 to curb the country's exploding population growth. It estimates that the policy has prevented nearly 400 million births.
kms/ncy (AP, Reuters, dpa)