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China’s One-Child Policy Abuse of Human Rights Focus of House Hearing

by | Sep 23, 2011

Editor’s note.  China’s brutal “One Child Policy” and its gross violations of human rights, particularly those of women, was the focus of human rights activists testifying before a House subcommittee on Thursday. The hearing finished just before it was time to post NRL News Today for the Day.

Reggie Littlejohn, President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the testimony of Dr. Valerie Hudson, author of the book “Bare Branches,” Ping Liu, a victim of the One Child Policy,  Ji Yeqing, another victim of the One Child Policy, Chai Ling, former student leader at Tiananmen Square, founder of All Girls Allowed, and  Reggie Littlejohn, President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.

Today I am attaching the opening remarks of  Congressman Chris Smith, chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees human rights and chairman of the Congressional-Executive China Commission, who held the hearing entitled “China’s One-Child Policy: The Government’s Massive Crime Against Women and Unborn Babies.”

“China’s One-Child Policy:
The Government’s Massive Crime Against Women and Unborn Babies”

 Thank you for coming to this extremely important hearing as we examine the consequences of thirty-three years of China’s implementation of its one child per couple policy.

China’s one child policy is state sponsored cruelty and constitutes massive crimes against humanity. The Nuremberg Nazi war crimes tribunal properly construed forced abortion as a crime against humanity—nothing in human history compares to the magnitude of China’s 33 year assault on women and children.

Today in China, rather than being given maternal care, pregnant women without birth allowed permits are hunted down and forcibly aborted. They are mocked, belittled and humiliated. There are no single moms in China—except those who somehow evade the family planning cadres and conceal their pregnancy. For over three decades, brothers and sisters have been illegal; a mother has absolutely no right to protect her unborn baby from state sponsored violence.

Over the years I have chaired 29 congressional human rights hearings focused in whole or in part on China’s one child policy. At one, the principal witness, Wuijan, a Chinese student attending a US university testified about how her child was forcibly murdered by the government. She said, “[T]he room was full of moms who had just gone through a forced abortion. Some moms were crying. Some moms were mourning. Some moms were screaming. And one mom was rolling on the floor with unbearable pain.” Then Wuijan said it was her turn, and through her tears she described what she called her “journey in hell.”

We will be hearing the testimony of other victims of forced abortion today, and we are extremely grateful to them for joining us. Not only does it take a great deal of courage to share what must be some of the most painful experiences of their lives, but they are also speaking truth to power, a Chinese Government that may well retaliate not only against them, if given the opportunity, but also family members who may still be in China. Again, we thank them for sharing their stories.

Women bare the major brunt of the one child policy not only as mothers. Due to the male preference in China’s society and the limitation of the family size to one child, the policy has directly contributed to what is accurately described as gendercide—the deliberate extermination of a girl—born or unborn—simply because she happens to be female.

As a result of the Chinese government’s barbaric attack on mothers and their children, there are some 100 million more males than females in China today. It has been noted that the three most dangerous words in China today are: “it’s a girl!”

In July, I offered an amendment demanding the release and an end of the torture of Chinese defense attorney Chen Guangcheng, who bravely defended forced abortion victims in China. Both Chen and his wife Yuan Weijing are at risk of dying from repeated beatings by the Chinese secret police and refused access to critically-needed medical care.

In the latter part of August when Vice President Joe Biden was visiting China, he stated that he “fully understood” the one child policy, and that he’s not “second guessing.” Can you imagine what the public reaction would be if the Vice President had said that he “fully understands” and is not “second guessing” copyright infringement and gross violations of intellectual property rights?

The one child per couple policy is the most egregious systematic attack on mothers ever. For my Vice President to publicly state that he fully understands the one child policy and then say he won’t second guess it is unconscionable, and sells out every mom in the PRC who has suffered this abuse. Instead of defending the one child policy, Vice President Biden should have asked for the release of Chen and Yuan, or at least made a formal request to see them.

Although Vice President Biden attempted to backtrack on his extraordinarily callous comment about the policy, his voting record as a Senator shines a spotlight on his long-held disregard for the severity of this human rights violation. On September 13, 2000, he joined 52 other senators in defeating an amendment by then-Senator Jessie Helms condemning the one-child policy. Then-Senator Biden reportedly did so because he was concerned that condemning China on fundamental human rights would interfere with the normalization of trade relations.

I invited the Vice President to join us at this hearing and explain his “full understanding” of the one child policy. I’ve been informed that he is not in D.C. today and could not attend. Given the grave importance of this issue, and the literally millions of lives at stake, I extend to the Vice President an open invitation to testify at a hearing at his convenience to share his “understanding” with the Subcommittee, and what actions, if any, the Obama Administration is taking to end this barbaric policy.

I also asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a hearing on March 1st of this year whether she or President Obama raised the issue of forced abortion in China directly in a face-to-face manner with President Hu when he was in Washington. She refused to answer it then, and I have yet to receive a response.

Not only is the current Administration turning a blind eye to the atrocities being committed under the one child policy, but it is even contributing financial support – contrary to U.S. law – through the UNFPA. Twenty seven years ago—on May 9, 1984—I authored the first amendment ever to a foreign aid bill to deny funding to organizations such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that are complicit with China’s forced abortion and involuntary sterilization policy. After all these years, it is amazing and disheartening to me that most policy makers—including and especially the Obama Administration—remain indifferent or worse, supportive, of these massive crimes against women and children. The Obama Administration has long enabled this cruel policy by its silence and financial support to the tune of $50 million a year to the UNFPA, an organization that supports, plans, implements, defends and whitewashes the Chinese government’s brutal program.

U.S. funding for the UNFPA was withheld in accordance with what is known as the Kemp-Kasten provision, which prohibits any monies for an organization that supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization, for Fiscal Years 1986-1993, 1999, and 2002-2008.

In June 2008, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte notified Members of Congress that he had determined that UNFPA had provided “financial and technical resources through its sixth cycle China Country Program to the National Population and Family Planning Commission and related entities,” and therefore provided support for and participated in the management of the Chinese government’s program of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization. It was on this basis that no funding was provided to the UNFPA that year.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the Seventh Country Programme, 2011-2015, clearly indicates that UNFPA’s support and participation in China’s coercive policies continue, the Obama Administration is allowing money to flow to UNFPA in violation of the Kemp-Kasten Amendment.

On one of several trips to Beijing, I challenged Peng Peiyun—then China’s director of the nation’s population control program—to end the coercion, we had quite a debate. Madame Peng told me that the UNFPA was very supportive of the one child per couple program and that the UNFPA adamantly agrees with her that the program is voluntary and that coercion doesn’t exist. In other words, I —we—are simply making it all up.

For over 30 years, the UNFPA has consistently heaped praise on China’s population control program and repeatedly urged other countries to embrace similar policies.

A few years ago this fall, the UNFPA and the Chinese government rolled out the red carpet and hosted high level diplomats from Africa including health ministers to sell “child limitation” policies. Despite the fact that China’s enforcement mechanism relies on heavy coercion and its aging population will soon implode its economy, many African leaders seem to have taken the bait. Limitations on the number of children a mother may carry to term are under active consideration throughout the subcontinent.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda for example wants a limit of three children per woman. I spoke to him directly about it and heard the same arguments I heard from family planning officials on trips to Beijing.

Today, we will also be hearing about the broader social implications of the one child policy and the extreme disparity between the numbers of men and women in China, particularly in terms of security. Therefore, the negative ramifications of the policy for the Chinese people that we will be examining have implications also for numerous other countries and the world in general.

We look forward to hearing from all of our distinguished witnesses, and again, our sincere gratitude for joining us here today.

Categories: China