International human rights groups have accused overzealous Chinese family planners of forcing women to abort, in some cases in the ninth month of pregnancy, or to undergo hysterectomies, but Beijing regularly denies the claims or keeps silent.
Tuesday's rare admission of official wrongdoing came after a blind activist, Chen Guangcheng, accused Linyi officials of forcing couples with two children to be sterilized and forcing women pregnant with a third child to undergo abortions.
"It falls far short of the number of officials who should be punished," Chen, who has since been put under house arrest in Shandong, told Reuters on Tuesday.
A source close to Chen said about 120,000 Linyi residents had been forced to undergo abortions or sterilization, but a Shandong family planning official said the figure was an exaggeration.
Shandong is one of the 32 counties where the UNFPA has supposedly been working for years with China to "move their policies and practices AWAY from coercion TOWARD a voluntary approach that respects human rights and human dignity and that is in line with international agreements."
It's strange that with the UNFPA working so hard and with so much money to move China's policies away from coercion that a blind activist got the Chinese officials to fire and arrest individuals using coercion.
In related news, Planned Parenthood is upset that President Bush has again denied funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
For a history of UNFPA and China and forced abortion, Annie Banno had a long and informative post a few months backs.