“China’s One-Child Policy: Crimes Against Women and Unborn Babies”
Remarks by Chris Smith
2012 National Right to Life Convention
Hyatt Regency Crystal City
June 28, 2012
China’s one child policy in effect since 1979 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.
Abortion is a weapon of mass destruction. Hundreds of millions have been exterminated.
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.
In recent days, the exploitation and forced abortion at seven months of Feng Jianmei has made headlines (Reggie Littlejohn as a matter of fact actually broke this tragic story).While Feng remains in a hospital—she calls it a prison—her husband, Deng, has been beaten. Feng’s gross mistreatment however is commonplace. I’m planning a Congressional hearing on Feng.
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.
The price for failing to conform to the one child per couple policy is staggering. A Chinese woman who becomes pregnant without a permit will be put under mind-bending pressure to abort. She knows that “out-of-plan” illegal children are denied education, health-care, and marriage, and that fines for bearing a child without a birth permit can be 10 times the average annual income of two parents, and those families that can’t or won’t pay are jailed, or their homes smashed in, or their young child is killed. If the brave woman still refuses to submit, she may be held in a punishment cell, or, if she flees, her relatives may be held and, very often, beaten. Group punishments will be used to socially ostracize her–her colleagues and neighbors will be denied birth permits. If the woman is by some miracle still able to resist this pressure, she may be physically dragged to the operating table and forced to undergo an abortion.
Her trauma is incomprehensible. It is a trauma she shares, in some degree, with every woman in China, whose experience of intimacy and motherhood is colored by the atmosphere of fear. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports staggering 500 female suicides per day in China. China is the only country in the world where the female suicide rate is higher than the male, and according to the Beijing Psychological Crisis Study and Prevention Center, in China the suicide rate for females is three times higher than for males.
The result of this policy is a nightmarish “brave new world” with no precedent in human history, where women are psychologically wounded, girls fall victim to sex-selective abortion (in some provinces 140 boys are born for every 100 girls), and most children grow up without brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles or cousins.
Over the years I have chaired 37 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.”
At another hearing, a woman who ran the forced abortion program in Fujian said that by day she was a monster, by night a wife and mother of one.
Women bear the major brunt of the one child policy not only as victimized 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 a girl.
As a result of the Chinese government’s barbaric attack on mothers and their children, there are some 100 million missing daughters in China today. It has been noted that the three most dangerous words in China today are: “it’s a girl!”
Because of the missing girls—China today has become the human sex trafficking magnate of the world. Women and young girls from outside the country are being sold as commodities throughout China—a direct consequence of the one child policy.
I am the author of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a comprehensive law to prevent trafficking, prosecute traffickers and protect victims.
One provision of the law requires an annual assessment of every country. According to this year’s TIP Report release last week on June 19th:
“China’s birth limitation policy, coupled with a cultural preference for sons, creates a skewed sex ratio in China, which served as a key cause of trafficking of foreign women as brides for Chinese men and for forced prostitution.”
“The government took no discernible steps to address the role that its birth limitation policy plays in fueling human trafficking in China, with gaping gender disparities resulting in a shortage of female marriage partners. The government failed to take any steps to change the policy; and in fact, according to the Chinese government, the number of foreign female trafficking victims in China rose substantially in the reporting period. The Director of the Ministry of Public Security’s Anti-Trafficking Task Force stated in the reporting period that “[t]he number of foreign women trafficked to China is definitely rising” and that “great demand from buyers as well as traditional preferences for boys in Chinese families are the main culprits fueling trafficking in China.”
Two days ago an op-ed in the People’s Daily—the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party—shed light on the emerging demographic catastrophe that is China.
The article titled “Leftover men to be a big problem” admits that there is a “bachelors” crisis that will “trigger a moral crisis of marriage and family” and the “continual accumulation of the number of unmarried men will greatly increase the risk of social instability.”
At a congressional hearing I chaired last September BYU Professor Valerie Hudson, author of Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population, testified that “by year 2020 young adult bare branches—ages 15-34 will number approximately 23-25 million…the foremost repercussions will be an increase in societal instability, marked increases in crime, crimes against woman…and the formation of gangs…”
Nicholas Eberstadt, a world renowned demographer asks, “What are the consequences for a society that has chosen to become simultaneously, more gray and more male.”
In her assessment for security and potential war, Professor Hudson testified “faced with worsening instability at home, and an unsolvable economic decline at home (as China ages) China’s government may well be tempted to use foreign policy to ‘ride the tiger’ of domestic instability. The twin themes of anti-Japanese feeling and unfulfillment of China’s reunification with Taiwan will be deeply resonant to much of the population of China. In the next two or three decades, we are likely to see observable security ramifications of the masculinization of China’s growing young adult population, especially combined with an understanding of the consequences of global aging…”
Last August Vice President Joe Biden visited China, and told the audience that he was well aware of and “fully understood” the one child policy, and that he was not “second guessing” the State for imposing it. 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?
Are you kidding Mr. Biden?
The one child per couple policy is the most egregious, vicious attack on women ever. For the Vice President of the United States 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.
Although Vice President Biden attempted to modestly 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 also asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a hearing 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, promised to get back and I have yet to receive a response.
Not only is the Obama 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 – to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Twenty eight 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 UNFPA that are complicit with China’s forced abortion and involuntary sterilization policy. It passed. After all these years, it is astonishing that 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.
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. 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, 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.
And the UNFPA has tried to import China-like child limitation policies on other nations as well, including the Philippines.
Finally, in 2000, I wrote a law—The Admiral James W. Nance and Meg Donovan Foreign Relations Authorization Act for fiscal years 2000 and 2001.