By Reggie Littlejohn, President,
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers (WRWF)
The China Development Research Foundation (CDRF) — a think tank affiliated with the Chinese government — has recommended that China gradually phase in a two-child policy over the next three years, and then cease all birth limits in the year 2020, according to a China Daily report. This recommendation was based on the coming demographic disaster caused by low birth rates combined with an ageing population, as well as the severe gender imbalance caused by son preference.
Some western media sources have mischaracterized the report’s recommendations, stating, for example, that the CDRF report concludes that the One Child Policy should be “abandoned immediately . . . sending shock waves through the international community . . .” or urges the Chinese government to “end” or “scrap” the One Child Policy now.
The CDRF report does not support the conclusion that China will “abandon,” “end” or “scrap” the One Child Policy immediately, nor are “shock waves” warranted, for the following reasons.
1) The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has not adopted the CDRF’s recommendations, and is not required ever to do so. Indeed, earlier this year, amidst multiple reports of late-term forced abortions, the National Population and Family Planning Commission affirmed that it continues to stand by the One Child Policy, praising it for preventing 400 million births.
2) Instituting a two-child policy will not end forced abortion. The problem with the One Child Policy is not the number of children “allowed.” Rather, it is the fact that the CCP is telling women how many children they can have and then enforcing that limit through forced abortion, forced sterilization and infanticide. Even if all couples were allowed two children, there is no guarantee that the CCP will cease their appalling methods of enforcement. Regardless of the number of children allowed, women who get pregnant without permission 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.
3) Instituting a two-child policy will not end gendercide. Indeed, areas in which two children currently are allowed are especially vulnerable to gendercide, the sex-selective abortion of females. According to the 2009 British Medical Journal study of 2005 national census data, in nine provinces, for “second order births” where the first child is a girl, 160 boys were born for every 100 girls. In two provinces, Jiangsu and Anhui, for the second child, there were 190 boys for every hundred girls born. This study stated, “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.
4) The Chinese Communist Party periodically modifies the One Child Policy, but the coercion at its core remains. Reports of these tweaks — especially when amplified by western media — throw the human rights world into confusion and blunt genuine efforts to end forced abortion in China. On September 9, 2010, for example, TIME ran the headline, “China Could Overthrow One-Child Rule.” Myriad other news sources followed suit. This dramatic headline was based on the fact that China proposed to run a pilot program allowing some couples to have two children. Soon afterwards, on September 25, 2010 – the 30th anniversary of the One Child Policy – a top population control official praised the policy and stated that China “will stick to the family planning policy in the coming decades.” Moreover, despite this pilot program, numerous reports of late-term forced abortions have surfaced since 2010, including the forced abortion at seven months of Feng Jianmei in June 2012. For a discussion of forced abortion cases that have arisen in 2011-2012, read WRWF’s Complaint at http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/?p=717
Regardless, the CDRF report is significant because of the organization’s connection with the Chinese government. It is perhaps because of this connection that they apparently left forced abortion and other human rights atrocities out of their discussion. (Their full report has yet to be released.) Stating that the CDRF has recommended an immediate abandonment of the One Child Policy, however, mischaracterizes the report and serves to abandon the women who are ongoing victims of that policy.
Rather, the Chinese Communist Party has not “abandoned” the One Child Policy based on the CDRF recommendation. The coercive enforcement of China’s One Child Policy continues to cause more violence toward women and girls than any other official policy on earth, and any other official policy in the history of the world. Those who care about women and girls must continue to press with persistence until forced abortion and gendercide are eradicated from the face of the earth.
View WRWF’s “Save a Girl” campaign to end gendercide and forced abortion.
Sign a petition to end forced abortion.
Watch Stop Forced Abortion – China’s War on Women! (4 mins)