By Reggie Littlejohn
SAN FRANCISCO (September 10, 2010) – USA Today ran an article on September 9 proclaiming that “China may relax its one-child rule.” UPI, ABC and dozens of other media organs followed suit. Indeed, TIME NewsFeed ran the headline, “China Could Overthrow One-Child Rule.”
Don’t be fooled. I rejoice for the families that may eventually be allowed a second child under this proposed “pilot program.” Nevertheless, China has not relaxed, rescinded or overthrown its brutal One-Child Policy. As an initial matter, this proposed modification is not for everyone, but only for couples in which at least one spouse is an only child. Any article proclaiming otherwise should be regarded with skepticism for the following three reasons.
• The problem with the One Child Policy is not the number of children allowed.
Rather, it is the fact that the policy is enforced through forced abortion, forced sterilization and infanticide. Even if some couples will eventually be allowed to have two children under this “pilot program,” the Chinese Communist Party has emphatically not stated that they will cease their appalling methods of enforcement.
Women who get pregnant without a “birth permit” will still be dragged out of their homes, strapped down to tables and forced to abort babies that they want, even up to the ninth month of pregnancy. It does not matter whether you are pro-life or pro-choice on this issue.
No one supports forced abortion, because it is not a choice. If you want to read a dozen expert reports on the current, coercive implementation of China’s One Child Policy, visit www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org.
• The announcement of this so-called “relaxation” of the Policy seems strategically timed to draw attention away from the plight of blind One Child Policy activist Chen Guangcheng, who was released on the same day.
Chen served a four-year prison sentence during which he endured severe torture and deprivation of medical treatment. Chen exposed the fact that there were 130,000 mass forced abortions and forced sterilizations in Linyi County, Shandong Province, China, in 2005.
On April 30, 2006, Time Magazine named him in its list of “2006’s Top 100 People Who Shape Our World,” in the category of “Heroes and Pioneers,” and he was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Although Chen was released yesterday – weak and in need of medical attention – sources inside China report that his house is surrounded by 20 security police.
As of this writing, Chen and his family cannot leave home. Did the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda Department time its announcement that it is “loosening up” on the One Child Policy to divert attention from what happens to Chinese nationals who expose the brutal truth about forced abortion in China?
• Areas in which two children are allowed are especially vulnerable to “gendercide,” the sex-selective abortion of females.
Allowing some couples to have two children will not solve China’s demographic problems regarding gender disparity, caused by China’s traditional preference for boys. Indeed, according to a study of 2005 national census data, in nine provinces, for “second order births” where the first child is a girl, 160 boys are born for every 100 girls.
According to the 2009 British Medical Journal study of this data, “Sex selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males.” Because of this gendercide, there are an estimated 37 million Chinese men who will never marry because their future wives were terminated before they were born. This gender imbalance is a powerful, driving force behind trafficking in women and sexual slavery, not only in China, but in neighboring nations as well.
So, don’t be fooled. The coercive enforcement of China’s One Child Policy causes more violence toward women and girls than any other official policy on earth, and any other official policy in the history of the world.
Much as the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda Department would like us to, we can’t cross the One Child Policy off our mental checklist of human rights concerns. The coercive enforcement of China’s One Child Policy constitutes a crime against humanity.
Reggie Littlejohn is President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a non-partisan, international coalition to oppose forced abortion and sexual slavery in China. As an expert on China’s One Child Policy for Human Rights Without Frontiers and China Aid, she has delivered an address at the European Parliament in Brussels, briefed the White House and testified before Congress (the United States Congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission). She has spoken at the Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, George Washington University, and The Heritage Foundation. A graduate of Yale Law School, Ms. Littlejohn has represented Chinese refugees in their political asylum cases in the United States. www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org