BEIJING, CHINA, June 26, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The husband of a 23-year-old who suffered a horrific forced abortion earlier this month is in hiding after relatives say Chinese authorities have beaten family members, whipped up “spontaneous” demonstrations, and left the family in fear for their lives.

Deng Jiyuan, 29, made international headlines when he posted a picture of his 7-month-old aborted child lying next to his wife, 23-year-old Feng.

In pursuit of its one-child policy, the Chinese government levied a 40,000-yuan fine ($6,300) for Feng’s unsanctioned second pregnancy, which the family could not pay. On June 2, in the seventh month of Feng’s pregnancy, their child was injected and killed against their will.

Last Friday, after the gruesome photo went viral, the family accepted an interview with the German magazine Stern. Soon, however, the internet featured photos of a crowd of protesters holding a banner outside the couple’s home that read, “Severely beat the traitors and expel them.” The couple’s family, who had rushed to their side, said they did not recognize any of the protesters as local, leading them to believe Beijing ordered the harassment in retaliation.

Deng Jicai, Feng’s sister-in-law, said her loved ones “feel like prisoners.” “Over 10 people here watch us 24 hours a day,” said Jicai.

On Sunday, her brother tried to travel to Beijing to meet reporters, but the crowd blocked his path, and someone kicked him in the stomach.

Three officials in Shaanxi province were fired and the government apologized to Feng, but the family says the government has not produced a promised investigation into the forced abortion.

“The forced abortion of a seven month pregnant woman is illegal under Chinese law. Why is the local government beating her husband and calling the family traitors for seeking enforcement of their legitimate rights?” said Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.

Littlejohn called the firing of the officials “mere propaganda aimed at creating the illusion that the Chinese Communist Party adheres to the rule of law.”