The Coercive Enforcement of China’s
One Child Policy – Systematic, Institutionalized Violence Against Women and Families
This the testimony of Reggie Littlejohn, President Women’s Rights Without Frontiers to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights on 22nd of September:
Honorable members of the Sub-Committee, ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for this opportunity to testify here today. During a sensitive time in engaging the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on human rights issues, I am truly moved by continuing concern of those present for the suffering of the people of China.
I have been asked to brief the Sub-Committee on the findings of our new report, to testify regarding the impact of the coercive enforcement of China’s One Child Policy on human rights, and to comment on the case of Chen Guangcheng.
New Report on the One Child Policy
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers released our new report today – “China’s One Child Policy: New Evidence of Coercion – Forced Abortion, Sterilization, Contraception, and the practice of Implication.” In this report are thirteen new, documented cases of coercion: forced abortion (including one woman at eight months and another carrying twins at 8 ½ months), forced sterilization, forced contraception, the use of abortion and sterilization quotas, Family Planning Police, Family Planning jail cells, the demolition of homes (even by relatives, for missing a pregnancy check), the use of “implication” (detention, torture and fining of relatives of “violators”).
The report contains accounts of a couple brutally tortured for missing a pregnancy check by one day; a man whose head was smashed open and who is now permanently disabled because his wife had a second child; a father who was beaten to death because his son was suspected of having a second child.
We have chosen to release the names of the perpetrators of these Crimes Against Humanity, so that they can be held accountable before the world. This report contains dozens of their names, as well as details of their crimes.
The “China Democracy Promotion Act of 2011,” if passed, would enable the President to deny entry into the U.S. for Chinese nationals, such as these, who have “committed human rights abuses” against people in China, including anyone who “has participated in the imposition of . . . China’s coercive birth limitation policy.”
Human Rights Violations
In addition to forced abortion, gendercide, and female suicide, China’s One Child Policy gives rise to several other serious human rights violations:
Human Trafficking and Sexual Slavery. Because of abortion, abandonment, and infanticide of baby girls, there are an estimated 37 million Chinese men who will never marry because they cannot find wives. This gender imbalance is a powerful, driving force behind trafficking in women and sexual slavery from nations surrounding China.According to the 2011 Trafficking in Person (TIP) Report, China is on the Tier 2 Watch List: a source, destination and transit country for trafficked people. “Women and children from neighboring countries including Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Mongolia, Russia, and North Korea, and from locations as far as Romania and Zimbabwe are reportedly trafficked to China for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.”
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has a petition against forced abortion and sexual slavery in China. We now have more than 9,000 signatures from 80 nations around the world – a truly international outcry.
Infanticide. Last year, crematorium workers in Guangdong Province found an infant crying in a “medical waste” receptacle on its way to being cremated, reports Xinhua, China’s official news agency. The crematorium workers immediately sent the infant back to the hospital. Later that day, the hospital sent the infant back to the crematorium, dead. The hospital offered no explanation of the cause of death.
Xinhua reported that 21 bodies of fetuses and babies were found discarded in a river in East China. Xinhua News stated, “the bodies may have been dumped by cleaners from local hospitals after abortions and induced labor. Such dead bodies are treated as ‘medical waste’ by hospitals.”
Forced Sterilization. As in Case One of our new report, women are literally dragged off the street, strapped down to tables and forcibly sterilized. According to the London Times, Family Planning Authorities have detained 1300 people in a campaign to sterilize nearly 10,000 people in Puning City, Guandong Province.
The twenty-day campaign, launched April 7, is well along in achieving its goal of 9,559 sterilizations. “A doctor in Daba village said that his team was working flat out, beginning sterilizations every day at 8 am and working straight through until 4 am the following day.” What’s the hurry? Officials in Puning may fail in their bid for promotion to a second tier county “if they cannot meet all quotas,” according to The London Times.
“Implication.” Case Six of WRWF’s new report describes the practice of “Implication,” which means that if anyone breaks the family planning policy, their entire extended family is held responsible. Parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews can be detained, fined and tortured. In an area of Fujian Province in 2008, the extended family of a Family Planning “violator” were seized and forced to attend a “Family Planning Learning Class,” where they were tortured and then charged “tuition.”
Violence Against Men. The practice of implication causes violence not only against women, but also against men. Case Seven of our report gives the account of a couple with a second child in Henan Province. Family planning police smashed the father in the head with a bottle. He is now permanently disabled.
In Case Twelve, in Jiangsu Province, Family Planning Officials beat a farmer to death because his son was suspected of having an extra child. His brother hanged himself in despair. Recently, in Linyi County, Shandong Province, near where Chen Guangcheng lives, a Family Planning Official murdered a man. They had come to seize his sister for a forced sterilization. Failing to find her, they started to beat their father. When the man defended his father, one of the Officials plunged a knife in his heart, and he died.
Most often, Family Planning Officials are not prosecuted for their crimes, but act with impunity. The spirit of the Red Guard lives on in the Family Planning Police.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, in January of this year, President Hu Jintao denied to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that China has a forced abortion policy. Moreover, China has stated that it will continue its One Child Policy for “decades” to come.
Blind activist Chen Guangcheng was arrested in 2006 for helping to expose the Chinese government’s use of forced sterilization and abortions to enforce its “One Child Policy.” He amassed evidence that 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations were performed on women in Linyi County, Shandong Province in a single year. Time Magazine named him one of “2006’s Top 100 People Who Shape Our World” and he was given the 2007 Magsaysay award, known as Asia’s Nobel Prize.
Chen spent four years, three months in prison. His defense lawyers were detained on the eve of trial. After his September 2010 release, he continues to serve a sentence of home detention. Both in prison and under house arrest, Chen experienced mistreatment and beatings. He suffers from a chronic, debilitating intestinal illness for which he has been denied treatment.
According to a February, 2011 video testimony provided by Chen smuggled out of China, 66 security police surround his home constantly. He and his wife are not allowed sufficient food and are isolated from all outside contact. No one can enter or leave their home, except officials, who can enter at any time, without notice.
After the video’s release, Chen and his wife were severely beaten, and lawyers who organized to help him were detained, beaten, and disappeared, including prominent lawyers Jiang Tianyong and Teng Biao. Foreign journalists who tried to visit Chen have been physically barred from entering his village. A CNN report showed unidentified security officers pushing a journalist and throwing rocks at him to prevent him from entering Chen’s village.
The letter written by Chen’s wife on June 15, 2011 indicates the need for urgent and immediate action to help Chen Guancheng and his wife Yuan Wejing.
We have received evidence that blind activist Chen Guangcheng’s health is in serious jeopardy because of repeated beatings and the malnutrition he suffers in house detention. According to a letter written by Chen’s wife, and smuggled out of China, Chen faces constant physical and psychological abuse, does not get sufficient food or nourishment, and is denied proper medical treatment. Foreign journalists have been forcibly denied access to him and lawyers who tried to help Chen were beaten and detained in February 2011.
Chen and his family will be transferred to a small prison built specifically for them, according to a Radio Free Asia report.
Activist He Peirong stated that the couple will be forcibly removed from their home and transferred to a building “which basically amounts to a jail” so that authorities can “keep tighter controls on them.” Their young son, living with relatives, was reportedly strip-searched leaving the family home.
Just in the past week, a couple of human rights campaigners seeking to see Chen were beaten and detained. Earlier this month, police detained Chen’s brother, who was meeting with activists. Chen’s six year old daughter was denied the right to an education.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and the China Aid Association are spearheading an international effort to free Chen Guangcheng. Thus far, we have collected 5161 signatures from 28 countries.
WRWF congratulates Rep. Chris Smith on his successful sponsorship last July of an amendment to the State Department Appropriation Bill, in support of Chen Guangcheng and his family. This amendment, which passed unanimously, urges the Chinese government to stop harassing the Chen family, to release them from house arrest, and to arrange for immediate medical treatment. It further urges the Obama administration to arrange diplomatic visits to the Chen family. Beyond this, it highlights the tragedy of forced abortion and coercive family planning in China. This amendment comes just in time, as Chen’s health is frail and deteriorating rapidly.
In China, a woman’s body is not her own. It belongs to the state. A woman’s womb is the most intimate part of her body – physically, emotionally and spiritually. For the Chinese Communist Party to act as “womb police” and crush the life inside her is a heinous crime against humanity.