RICHMOND—A woman who fled China after the government forced her to have an intrauterine birth control device implanted is not entitled to asylum in the United States, a divided federal appeals court ruled yesterday.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals, which concluded that Qiao Hua Li had failed to prove persecution and that her fears of harassment were not well-founded.
Mrs. Li was 16 when she got married in 1997, despite being denied a marriage certificate because Chinese law prohibits women from marrying until they are 20. She became pregnant four months later and, fearing a government-forced abortion, fled with her husband into the mountains.
The couple returned home eight months after the child was born and were fined 10,000 renminbi, or about $1,300, for the unauthorized birth.
Chinese officials also forced her to submit to an intrauterine device (IUD) insertion, she said, and she was checked every few months by doctors to ensure that the device was still in place and that she was not pregnant.
An immigration judge ruled that China’s actions did not amount to persecution and noted that Mrs. Li had not had the IUD removed while in the United States. Mrs. Li testified that she feared repercussions if she is returned to China with the device removed.