By Marie Smith, Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (PNCI)
Thursday marked the 34th anniversary of the enforcement of China’s brutal One-Child Policy, a policy which results in the loss of millions of unborn children and inflicts horrific abuse upon women. The cruel policy – which makes siblings illegal – has been implemented through coercion and violence and resulted in a dramatic gender imbalance in the population.
Despite a reported lessening of the population control policy for small sectors of the population, China continues to oppress and victimize Chinese mothers, fathers, and children through forced abortion and involuntary sterilization.
Women found to be pregnant with an “unapproved” pregnancy are forcibly aborted, including in the last month of pregnancy. Families found with children “over-quota” are forced to pay staggering social compensation fees equaling years of wages and “unauthorized” children can suffer alienation and denial of education and health benefits.
The Chinese war on the littlest of women continues through sex-selective abortion and infanticide, enabled by a cultural preference for males. Yet, the origins of sex-selective abortion go back to 1969 in the United States when the Population Council proposed it as an “ethical” way to control population. In her book Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, Mara Hvistendahl explains:
“By August 1969, when the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Population Council convened another workshop on population control, sex selection had become a pet scheme….Sex selection, moreover, had the added advantage of reducing the number of potential mothers….if a reliable sex determination technology could be made available to a mass market,” there was “rough consensus” that sex selection abortion “would be an effective, uncontroversial and ethical way of reducing the global population.”
Population controllers were successful. There are an estimated 160 million females missing from the world today, mainly in Asia. These missing women will not become wives, daughter-in-laws, mothers, or grandmothers; they are not only missing but they are sorely missed.
The effects of this gendercide are particularly felt in China as new and devastating social, economical and demographic challenges have arisen from the disproportionate population. China reportedly accounts for 60% of the world’s sex trafficking and tens of millions of men cannot find wives, leading to an increase of men who seek to purchase women to serve as a “slave wife.”
Marking the anniversary of the policy, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers (WRWF) has issued an open letter to China’s President Xi Jinping in which WRWF President Reggie Littlejohn calls for an end to the policy:
“The mayhem caused by China’s One Child Policy continues unabated and has taken some troubling new twists, with people being driven to mental breakdown, murder and suicide, as well as an obstetrician using her position of trust in order to traffic babies. The minor modification of the Policy that took place on January 1 of this year has failed to solve these problems. The One Child Policy does not need to be modified. It needs to be abolished.”
In August WRWF filed a complaint at the United Nations to the Commission on the Status of Women chronicling cruel and disturbing reports of forced abortion and other violations of basic human rights emerging from China over the past year. One report is about an obstetrician in Shaanxi province who
“was convicted of trafficking seven infants, after she had convinced their parents that the infants were seriously ill or deceased. She was given a suspended death sentence. It has been estimated that 70,000 children a year are trafficked in China.”
“… a husband demanded compensation from the Chinese government, claiming that his wife … has suffered from schizophrenia and violent behavior since she was forcibly aborted at seven months in November, 2011.”
All Girls Allowed – an organization founded by Tiananmen Square pro-democracy leader Chai Ling – also marked this anniversary by not only highlighting ongoing efforts to help save the lives of baby girls in China but has called attention to the practice of sex selection abortion in the United States. In Time to End Gendercide in China and in America, Chai Ling expresses shock and heartbreak that a proposal by San Francisco’s Supervisor David Chiu to lift a ban on sex selective abortion in the city was approved. She warns that the approval of this resolution “removes a pregnant woman’s last weapon she could use to fight for her baby girl’s right to live.”
“As an Asian in America myself, I am not proud of this cultural practice. However, pretending this practice does not exist does not stop the brutal slaughter of Asian baby girls and attacks on their mothers; rather, it condones it and encourages it. If Mr. Chiu truly wants to show care, to support and protect a woman’s freedom to choose, I challenge Mr. Chiu to openly condemn China’s One-Child Policy which deprives women’s basic reproductive rights. Furthermore, instead of being remembered by history as an Asian man who encourages the killing of baby girls, I invite Mr. Chiu to join the movement to end Gendercide!”
PNCI notes that San Francisco is the first city in the USA to prohibit a ban on sex-selective abortion. A bill – the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act – had been introduced earlier in the California state assembly but it failed to pass the first committee vote. Currently eight states in the U.S. have approved bans on sex-selective abortions.
Editor’s note. This appeared at pncius.org