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Congressional-Executive Commission on China Holds Hearing Addresses Gendercide in China

by | Feb 4, 2016

Editor’s note. This analysis/summary was provided by the office of Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).

Julie Ford Brenning, the Director of Research & China Outreach for the organization, Give Her Life

Julie Ford Brenning, the Director of Research & China Outreach for the organization, Give Her Life

WASHINGTON, DC – The problem of “gendercide”—the deliberate extermination of a girl child simply because she happens to be a girl—was the topic of a hearing chaired today by Congressman Chris Smith, chairman of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). At the hearing, Smith said that the “global crisis of Asia’s missing girls is not only a tragedy of lost potential but also a demographic time bomb, particularly in China, with social, political, and potentially even security implications.”

Demography experts estimate that 160 million females are missing from Asia’s population, more than the entire female population of the United States. And gender imbalance—which is mainly the result of sex selective abortion—is a major problem in China. The cultural preference for boys, exacerbated by China’s draconian birth-limitation policies, has led to millions of girls being aborted and killed over the past several decades. As a result, China faces severe gender imbalances.

The global crisis of missing girls constitutes a gross human rights abuse—which is aptly described as gendercide—the extermination of the girl child in society simply because she happens to be a girl. Gendercide is not only a predictable tragedy of lost potential, but also a demographic time bomb, particularly in China, with social, political, and potentially even security implications,” said Smith. “China faces some of the world’s most severe gender imbalances—according to official estimates, there are currently 34 million more males than females in China.

As the author of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000—America’s landmark law to combat sex and labor trafficking—I am deeply concerned that China has become the human sex trafficking magnet of the world. We have seen a marked increase of women trafficked from neighboring Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia being trafficked into China as brides and for sexual exploitation. North Korean women who escape into China also remain at risk for human trafficking for forced marriages and forced labor.  China’s gender imbalances are significantly exacerbated by government policy—particularly its draconian population control policies.”

Click here to read Cong. Smith’s opening remarks.

The hearing, entitled “Gendercide: China’s Missing Girls,” was held in the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), which Congressman Smith chairs with Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

Mara Hvistendahl, journalist and author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist book Unnatural Selection: "Choosing Boys Over Girls", and the "Consequences of a World Full of Men"

Mara Hvistendahl, journalist and author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist book Unnatural Selection: “Choosing Boys Over Girls”, and the “Consequences of a World Full of Men”

The hearing included expert witnesses including Chai Ling, the Founder of All Girls Allowed and a former leader of the Tiananmen Square student demonstrations; Mara Hvistendahl, journalist and author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist book Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men; and Julie Ford Brenning, the Director of Research & China Outreach for the organization, Give Her Life. The witnesses offered both analysis of the problem and recommendations to combat this problem as well as lessons learned from other countries which have struggled with gender imbalances either as a result of cultural preference or government policy.

In her testimony Chai Ling said, “China’s population problem is not too many babies are being born, but too few babies being born, especially too few baby girls are being born. There is a severe cost for low birth rate… All the facts and data point to the clear conclusion that the brutal and unwise ‘Two Children Policy’ needs to come to an end and be replaced by an all children allowed policy as soon as possible, for the sake of China, the people, the Chinese government and the country…Gendercide is the largest injustice on earth today. We also urge the U.S. leaders, Congressional leaders, President Obama, business, education, women’s rights and faith community leaders, presidential hopefuls and all to help us end this evil.”

Chai Ling, Founder of All Girls Allowed and a former leader of the Tiananmen Square student  demonstrations

Chai Ling, Founder of All Girls Allowed and a former leader of the Tiananmen Square student demonstrations

Said Hvistendahl in her testimony, “We have historical amnesia. Western institutions played a critical role in bring sex selection to Asia. And yet, I can’t tell you how many reports I’ve read that blame sex selection squarely on traditional values. As a major international issue, affecting South Asia and Eastern Europe as well as China, sex selection demands an international response. Moreover, as the entity responsible for the population control policies that contribute to the preponderance of boys being born, the Chinese government cannot be expected to solve its sex-ratio problem without international pressure.”

Said Brenning in her testimony, “We all know that the consequences of the skewed sex ratio are well documented. It is now vital to address the policy implications and how to implement successful government initiatives that will get to the roots of the sex ratio imbalance.  It is only by recognizing the importance of the empowerment of women, as an end in itself and as a key to improving the quality of life for everyone – both men and women – that China will achieve a more long-lasting and effective means of achieving balanced sex ratio.”

The bipartisan CECC released its 2015 Annual Report which shows that Chinese provincial governments continued to coercively enforce birth restrictions and monitor family size in the past year. The report also showed that population control policies created a sex ratio imbalance resulting in the birth of significantly more males, millions of whom will be unable to find wives. The severe imbalance drives regional human trafficking throughout Asia for the purposes of forced marriage and sexual exploitation.  The CECC Annual Report can be found at www.cecc.gov.

The CECC consists of nine bipartisan Senators, nine bipartisan Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President. The Annual Report was approved unanimously by all of the CECC’s members.

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