Last week, Republicans adopted a new party platform that condemns abortion, but it also takes China to task for its one-child policy.
The coercive policy not only limits the number of children couples can have but has been accompanied by human rights abuses ranging from forced abortions to sterilizations to home detention — as personified by the plight of Chen Guangcheng.
The 2008 GOP platform referred to the need for religious freedom in China and referred to the one-child policy but without labeling it “brutal” and with no reference to forced abortion. The 2012 version condemns “religious persecution” and forced abortion linked to the “barbaric” one-child policy.
The platform says: “The Chinese government has engaged in a number of activities that we condemn: China’s pursuit of advanced military capabilities without any apparent need; suppression of human rights in Tibet, Xinjiang, and other areas; religious persecution; a barbaric one-child policy involving forced abortion; the erosion of democracy in Hong Kong; and its destabilizing claims in the South China Sea.”
The platform is a stark contrast to controversial comments from Vice President Joe Biden, who said he would net “second guess” the forced abortion policy. n a speech, Biden talked about demographic concerns associated with the policy but said he would not “second-guess” it and “understood” why Chinese put the policy in place.
Biden faced criticism from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“China’s one-child policy is gruesome and barbaric,” Romney told the Washington Post. “Vice President Biden’s acquiescence to such a policy should shock the conscience of every American. Instead of condoning the policy, Vice President Biden should have condemned it in the strongest possible terms. There can be no defense of a government that engages in compulsory sterilization and forced abortions in the name of population control.”
Leading pro-life advocates also criticized the vice president at the time.
“I am appalled to have a blatantly misogynistic Vice President that has declared support for China’s one child policy. Joe Biden told Chinese leaders recently that he “understands” and “isn’t second guessing” the policy that has forced abortions and sterilizations of millions since put into place by Communist leaders in the 1970s,” Students for Life president Kristan Hawkins told LifeNews.
She added: “Does he also understand that the policy equates having a child with physical or mental disabilities with having a girl? The policy is relaxed in many rural areas if parents’ first child is born with a physical disability, a mental ailment, or female anatomy. This clearly isn’t the first gaff Biden has made that makes me second guess his measure of success in office.”
Deal Hudson, President of Catholic Advocate, chimed in as well, saying Biden did a disservice to the Catholic faith he claims to adhere to.
“How can our Vice President, even at the most human level, fail to utter a word of protest in the face of such an unnatural and barbaric practice? Failing that, wouldn’t his Catholic faith dictate to Biden an obligation to not offer the Chinese his approval and tacitly that of the U.S. government?” Hudson asked.
Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, also condemned the comments from the Vice President.
“Vice President Biden’s approval of China’s one-child policy, which uses forced abortion to enforce the law, crosses the lines of ignorant and wrong,” she told LifeNews. “Then to suggest that the United States should learn from China’s policy, like forcing its citizens to have only one child, to help manage debt, is an insult to the basic American values of life and liberty. Government spending, not the lives of innocent children, should be cut off in order to control our nation’s debt. To suggest otherwise is nothing short of an idiotic statement. Also, Concerned Women for America would like to know if Biden’s position is the official Administration’s stance on the barbaric and brutal one-child policy in China.”
The one-child policy, instituted by the Communist government in the late 1970s to stem rising population, compels couples in urban areas to have just one child and limits couples in rural areas to two children if the first child is a girl, as girls are seen as having lesser value than boys in some parts of the Asian nation.
The policy has stirred global controversy since it was implemented, as it has resulted in massive campaigns of forced abortions and sterilizations, fines for families violating the rule, sentences to prison and forced labor camps for violators and their families who shelter them from government officials, home detention, loss of jobs or government benefits, beatings and other human rights abuses.
In his statement, Biden talked about the other set of concerns about the one-child policy — demographic — in that China will increasingly have similar problems to the United States in terms of paying for entitlements to the growing number of people retiring who will need government support to make ends meet and a smaller population of younger workers able to take care of those obligations.
“But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China. You have no safety net,” Biden said in the prepared remarks. “Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”
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“So hopefully we can act in a way on a problem that’s much less severe than yours, and maybe we can learn together from how we can do that,” he continued.
The speech represented a second missed opportunity for the Obama administration to present a clear position against the policy that is one of the most egregious global human rights abuses in modern times.
Biden’s comments followed a visit from China President Hu Jintao, where President Barack Obama apparently failed to ask the foreign leader about the problem of forced abortions on Chinese women. Ask during a U.S. House hearing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton couldn’t say whether Obama brought up the massive human rights abuse millions of Chinese women endure if they break the country’s one-child family planning rules.