Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hearing on China’s 1-child policy: victims recount brutality

Marking the 31st anniversary of China’s one-child policy, the U.S. House of Representatives held its first hearing since 2009 on the coercive population-control mandate.
“The one-child-per-couple policy is the most egregious systematic attack on mothers ever,” said Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Human Rights Subcommittee, who hosted the hearing.

“Women bare the major brunt of the one-child policy — not only as mothers,” Smith said at the hearing. “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 female. … It has been noted that the three most dangerous words in China today are: ‘It’s a girl!’”

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, when recently in China, failed to say anything of the sort, instead publicly assuring that he would not be “second-guessing” the policy. A spokesman would later assure Americans, at least, that he considers the policy “repugnant.”

Smith opened the hearing by addressing Biden’s comments and issuing an open invitation to him to address the committee about “what actions, if any, the Obama administration is taking to end this barbaric policy.”

This isn’t simply a war of words among American politicians. Despite the “repugnant” clarification, the Obama administration has restored U.N. Population Fund funding after a George W. Bush administration hiatus. The UNFPA has been a support to China’s brutal policy. Smith has introduced the China Democracy Promotion Act of 2011, which would allow the president to deny Chinese government officials entry into the United States if they have participated in human-rights abuses, including coercive enforcement of the one-child policy.

At the hearing, an exiled Chinese human-rights activist, Liu Ping, recalled her horrific experience working in a textile factory in Tianjin in the 1980s.

“There was a system of collective punishment: If one worker violated the rules, all would be punished,” Liu testified. “Workers monitored each other. Women of reproductive age accounted for 60% of my factory floor. Colleagues were suspicious and hostile to each other because of the one-child policy. Two of my pregnancies were reported by my colleagues to the Family Planning Commission. When discovered, pregnant women would be dragged to undergo forced abortions — there simply was no other choice.

“We had no dignity as potential child-bearers. By order of the factory’s Family Planning Commission, every month during their menstrual period, women had to undress in front of the birth-planning doctor for examination. If anyone skipped the examination, she would be forced to take a pregnancy test at the hospital. We were allowed to collect a salary only after it was confirmed that we were not pregnant.”

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