Demonstration against the one-child policy in China
The Chinese government introduced a one-child policy in 1979 to stop population growth. The policy is controversial both within and outside China because of the human rights issues it raises; because of the manner in which the policy has been implemented; and because of concerns about negative economic and social consequences.
The Economist reported in July 2011 that the policy was becoming more stringent:
"BEFORE 1997 they usually punished us by tearing down our houses for breaching the one-child policy...After 2000 they began to confiscate our children." Thus Yuan Chaoren, a villager from Longhui county in Hunan province, describing in Caixin magazine the behaviour of family-planning bureaucrats. According to Caixin, local officials would take "illegal children" and pack them off to orphanages where they were put up for adoption. Foreign adoptive parents paid $3,000-5,000 per child. The bureaucrats collected a kickback."
On October 10th 2010, Xiao Aiying, who was eight months pregnant, was dragged from her home in Siming in southwest China and forced to have an abortion. This is a part of the debate on abortion that the media are largely silent about. Watch the two minute news report above by Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan.
Numerous atrocities have been reported in the Western and Chinese Press but the policy and its enforcement is allowed to continue. Read some of these examples below:
Two Chinese hospital officials were condemned to death and four others were jailed for helping women avoid sterilisation required by China's coercive population control program. The six were convicted of taking bribes for providing 448 falsified sterilisation papers between 1988 and 1990 (Henan Legal News, 22 November 1993)
A 1991 report entitled Chinese Whip Men to Force Abortions states: "The Shanghai Daily reported that the committee in Jihshan Village gathered 52 pregnant women and their husbands in a government office and gave them four days to sign abortion contracts. When ten couples resisted, the committee decoded to 'employ special measures'. The ten husbands were 'marched into an empty room and ordered to strip and lie face down.' According to the Daily, 'They were then beaten on the bare buttocks as many times as the number of days their wives were pregnant'. All the men subsequently signed the contract"
Michael Weisskopf of The Washington Post gave a chilling account of late-term forced abortions: "In the Inner Mongolian capital of Hohot, however, hospital doctors practice what amounts to infanticide by a different name, according to a Hohot surgeon who would not allow his name to be used for fear of reprisal. After inducing labor, he revealed, doctors routinely smash the baby's skull with forceps as it emerges from the womb. In some cases, he added, newborns are killed by injecting formaldehyde into the soft spot of the head. He estimated that hundreds of babies die this way in his hospital every year."
China Expert John Aird said in a 1993 article: "forcing pregnant women to attend 'study classes' away from their families until they agree to have abortions, imprisoning their husbands until their fugitive wives return for the required surgeries, cutting off food, water, and wages for non compliant families."
Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute has documented cases where a mother has given birth to twins, and has then immediately been faced with an inhuman 'Sophie's Choice' Party officials ask her which twin she wants to keep. The other twin is executed on the spot. He describes the plight of a woman who was unfortunate enough to have borne twins; "In one incident shortly after I left Guangdong Province, a young woman pregnant for the first time gave birth to twin boys. What should have been an occasion for rejoicing quickly turned tragic as the cadres asked her which one she wanted. "Both of them," she replied, but to no avail. One of the babies she could not and would not choose which was taken from her and put to death."
In July 2006, The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported that a woman pregnant with twins has fallen to her death while fleeing a forced abortion in a hospital in Himei. Li Shimei, who was seven months pregnant, was seized at her home and taken to the hospital in the eastern city of Hefei because she already had one child when she became pregnant.
While forced or coerced abortion is officially outlawed, human rights groups outside China and some human rights activists within the communist country have said that with quotas laid on local officials, women and families are commonly intimidated or outright forced to abort. In 2005, despite "reforms" claimed by the Chinese government, Amnesty International reported that forced abortion continued to be common.
In a Press Release in early April 2008, Radio Free Asia says it has learned of the case of a woman in Zhubao township in the eastern province of Shandong who was detained and beaten to force her pregnant sister to come out of hiding. A younger sister told the news service: "When she said she didn't know, they beat her up. We heard from inside sources that the beatings were very severe. We also heard that they beat one woman to death a few years ago, so we are all very worried about her."
On 24 February 2011, Chinese prisoner of conscience, Mao Hengfeng, was re-arrested last week and shipped back to a labor camp for her struggle against China's one child policy. In March 2010, Hengfeng was sentenced to a year and a half of "re-education through labor" (RTL) for "disturbing public order." Hengfeng had been released on parole due to health concerns from her ill-treatment and torture during imprisonment on February 22, but was arrested and sent back to labor camps on February 24. Her whereabouts remains unknown. Read more on this disturbing story here
Mao Hengfeng shows some of the marks she received while being tortured by the Chinese authorities
In early October 2013 a couple have told Sky News how they were physically forced into an abortion by the Chinese authorities, three months before their child was due to be born. At 4am in the morning a group of 20 officials from the Shandong Province Family Planning Commission forced their way into the home of Zhou Guoqiang and his wife Liu Xinwen. Liu Xinwen, 33, was taken to the People's Hospital of Fangzi District in Weifang City where she was injected with an abortion-inducing drug. Read more on the horrific story here
Liu Xinwen says she was forcibly aborted at 6 months of pregnancy
Also, in October 2013, in an exclusive interview with ChinaAid.org, 31-year-old Li Fengfei relayed the horrifying story of her 13-day-long forced abortion at the hands of Chinese family planning officials. Li was newly pregnant with an unauthorized second child in her hometown of Qingmen, Qinsha county, in April when superiors at her job unlawfully framed her for embezzling money from the business. READ MORE HERE
It is hard for persons in democratic societies to grasp how China's party-state can control the fertility of China's millions. The effort starts with a barrage of anti-child propaganda in the schools and workplaces, and then moves to open intimidation in banners and slogans posted in public places. Here are some pictures of the kind of public threats the authorities make against those women who may be pregnant with "illegal" children.
Translation: "If it should be aborted and is not aborted, your house will be destroyed and your cow will be taken."
Translation: "Even if you bleed enough to make a river, you must not give birth to an extra child!" Hunan Province.
该扎不扎， 关人作押， 该流不流， 折房牵牛。
Translation: "If you should get sterilized and you don’t, you will be detained and prosecuted. If you should abort and do not abort, your house will be torn down and your cattle will be led away."
外出的叫回来, 隐瞒的挖出来 计划外怀孕的坚决引下来 该扎的坚决拿下来
Translation: "Call back those who are located far away, dig out those who are hidden, Those who are pregnant outside the policy absolutely must have labor induced. Those who should be sterilized absolutely must be dragged down."
Translation: "If you are supposed to wear an IUD but don't, or are supposed to have your tubes tied but don't, you will be arrested on sight!"
Translation: "Those of you who don't abort or get sterilized, and are happy to have excess births and pay fines. . . [image unclear]."
This kind of in-your-face propaganda, combined with strong-arm tactics on those who hold-out, brings most women to heel. Then there are group pressure tactics, used in Liaoning province in northeastern China and elsewhere. In these provinces, second births are allowed only if there no illegal births. If even one illegal child is born, no second births are allowed, and women carrying second children are aborted.
Thanks to Steve Mosher of the Population Research Institute for this information
Demographers are now concerned that the one child policy has so intensified the Chinese preference for a boy as to have seriously distorted the balance of the sexes in favour of males. The sex ratio at birth (between male and female births) in mainland China reached 117:100 in the year 2000, substantially higher than the natural baseline, which ranges between 103:100 and 107:100.
According to a report by the State Population and Family Planning Commission, there will be 30 million more men than women in 2020, potentially leading to social instability. The correlation between the increase of sex ratio disparity on birth and the deployment of one child policy would appear to have been caused by the one-child policy.
Chinese government posters promoting the one-child policy
A blind Chinese activist, who was freed from jail last year but remains under strict house arrest, was reportedly beaten senseless after releasing a video that documented his plight.
Watch this exclusive video which shows ill treatment and illegal detention of blind activist Chen Guangcheng, China Aid, 2/9/11
The Telegraph reported on the 4th August 2013, that the official news agency Xinhua said that the Family Planning Commission is studying proposals to lift the ban on a second child, if either parent is an only child. The body's spokesman said aim is to "improve" family policy, confirming leaks to Chinese newspapers that a major shift is in the works. The new rules are expected to come into force early next year, and may be extended to cover all families by 2015. The shift in policy may come too late to avert an ageing shock. The workforce shrank by 3m last year, an inflection point that has come sooner than expected.
Read the article in the Telegraph here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/china-business/10221730/China-to-ditch-its-one-child-policy-as-ageing-crisis-looms.html
The Women's Rights without frontiers have made a harrowing video on the plight of Chinese women who violate the one-child policy. Watch the video below and check out their on-line petitions.