In honor of International Human Rights Day (December 10) Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has joined other human rights organizations, including The Jubilee Campaign and the Justice Foundation, in an open letter to new Chinese President Xi Jinping, demanding the end of forced abortion and sterilization in China. WRWF President Reggie Littlejohn said, “Forced abortion and the insidious infrastructure of coercion necessary to enforce China’s One Child Policy do not just affect women. They affect everyone in China. The coercive enforcement of China’s One Child Policy is the biggest human rights violation on earth today – a bloody stranglehold on 1.3 billion people. It must end now. We call upon President Xi Jinping to give hope to the suffering people of China by ending these barbaric practices as his first and most lasting legacy.”
[Editor’s note. The following is excerpted from the letter. The open letter can be read in its entirety at www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/?p=877.]
Forced Abortion in China Must End Now:
An Open Letter to New Chinese President, Xi Jinping
December 10, 2012
Dear President Xi Jinping:
As you know, we are currently in the 33rd year of the official institution of China’s brutal One Child Policy, which has caused incalculable suffering to millions of women and families of China. As many within your country, as well as many of us in the international community are saying to you, it is time for this policy to end, not to be replaced by a ‘two-child policy’ as some of your advisors may be suggesting, but to be eradicated from the face of the earth because it has caused more violence toward women and girls than any other official policy on earth, and any other official policy in the history of the world by coercively preventing more than 400 million births through forced abortions, sterilizations, confiscatory fines, and infanticide – all in violation of international norms.
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 Chinese 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.
As a respected leader with a reported reputation for investigating government corruption, we commend your attention to the corrupt practices that have completely infiltrated the implementation of the One Child Policy so that today its only practical purpose is to line the pockets of Chinese family planning officials charged with implementing the policy with ill-gotten gains despite the death, suffering, personal injury, destitution and corruption this policy has sown into the stories of so many millions of Chinese lives.
For example, earlier this year, Feng Jianmei was forcibly aborted at seven months when she and her husband, Deng Jiyuan, could not pay a 40,000 yuan fine ($6300). Officials of Ankang City, Shaanxi Province, tried to force Feng into a car, but she escaped to her aunt’s house. They broke through the gate, so she fled to the mountains, where officials found her hiding under a bed. After forcibly aborting her baby, officials laid the bloody body of her dead daughter next to her in the bed. The story and photograph immediately went viral, sent shockwaves around the world, and ignited a firestorm of outrage. To quell the international outrage, we understand compensation is being paid but the pain is permanent.
Our hearts go out to the victims of forced abortion and their families. The coercive enforcement of China’s cruel and barbaric One Child Policy causes more violence towards women and girls than any other official policy on earth. It is China’s war against women and girls. Women are forcibly aborted up to the ninth month of pregnancy. Forced abortion is not a choice. It is systematic, institutionalized violence against women, official government rape; and it continues to this day. We urge you to put an end to this hideous crime against humanity, which in many instances also constitutes torture in violation of China’s international obligations.
(Several other examples follow before turning to Chen Guangcheng.)
Chen Guangcheng. Not only are women and the fathers of their children oppressed by the One Child Policy, so are those who try to defend them. Blind activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng exposed the widespread and systematic use of forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations in Linyi County in 2005. The Chinese Communist Party imprisoned Chen for four years and three months. They then kept him and his family under strict house arrest from September, 2010 until his dramatic escape. Chen arrived in the United States on May 19, 2012. Just last week Chen released a video that is currently going viral on the internet. In it, Chen explains how human rights are ignored in China in violation of Chinese and international law. He further confirms that he has endured incalculable suffering for human rights in China, and in particular, for the rights of women not to be forcibly aborted or sterilized. He has confirmed that these barbaric practices are still being used ‘extensively.’ Indeed, he has taken a bold step i
n declaring that the violence against women and babies committed in connection with the coercive enforcement of the One Child Policy ‘is a sin, because, in Chen’s words, “life is sacred.’” ….
President Jinping, you are in a unique position to stop this horrendous violence against women and the financial incentives and penalties that encourage it. As you commence your term as China’s President may the end of the One Child Policy be your earliest legacy to the Chinese people.