By Shannon Najmabadi
Image credit: Jenny Lee Silver.
Earlier this week, married female residents of Dongguan were shocked to find that their birth control methods had been made public knowledge.
According to People’s Daily, a notice – listing married women’s names, husbands, home addresses, ID card numbers and birth control methods – was posted to a local bulletin board in Dongguan.
“My ID number, my birth control practices, all these private things are casually posted on the door of the village committee,” said a villager surnamed Xiang, quoted by the Global Times.
According to People’s Daily, the list was also available online and, from it, “it was easy to see which men had had a vasectomy and which women had been sterilized.”
Speaking to the Global Times, a staff member of the committee responsible for the notice said that the list’s information could help them “discover violations of the one-child policy.”
The staff member also said that the notice’s contents were made public under the direction of Hengli township’s Population and Family Planning Service Center – a statement the township’s Population and Family Service Center denies, according to the Global Times.
“We only asked them to reveal whether these married women were using contraception after having children,” an employee of the township’s Population and Family Planning Service Center surnamed Zhang told the Global Times.
According to People’s Daily, the notices were removed Monday afternoon after receiving attention from the media.
Zhan Zhongle, a law professor at Peking University, told the Global Times the seeming obvious: “The villagers’ right to privacy was violated,” adding that it is illegal for the local government to disclose private information in the name of family planning efforts.
Officials of the local village committee in question are making strides to rectify the situation. According to People’s Daily, one such official admitted that the committee had not given much consideration to the security of personal information and promised not to publish villagers’ ID numbers “next time.”