Started in 1980, the policy, which prohibits most Chinese couples form having more than one baby and limits rural residents to two, has resulted in severe human rights abuses. Family planning officials frequently jail couples who refuse to comply, sentence them to house arrest or labor camps, revoke jobs or governmental support, use physical harassment or violence and often target other family members.
Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, one of the leading pro-life and human rights advocates in Congress, previously marked the September 25 anniversary.
“On that date in 1980 the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party sent an open letter to party members setting forth its plan to embark on a national one-child policy,” Smith said. “What came out of that letter? A cruel and inhumane policy, a human rights violation that is, in scope and seriousness, the worst human rights abuse in the world today. No other government policy anywhere else in the world systematically punishes, abuses, and violates women so grossly as this.”
Smith said the policy has made it so brothers and sisters are illegal and children are growing up in a society with no aunts and uncle because the one-child policy has now been around for a generation.
Every so often, reports surface that the one-child policy is going to be reformed. But one top human rights campaigner says that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
“The one child policy is definitely still happening. Any report that states that China is abandoning the one-child policy is false,” Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers said in an interview with CNA.
“The one-child policy causes more violence towards women and girls than any other official policy on earth, than any other official policy in the history of the world,” Littlejohn said, adding that the Chinese communist party has boasted about having “prevented four hundred million lives” through the policy.
“Women are forced to abort babies up to the ninth month of pregnancy, and sometimes these forced abortions are so violent that the women themselves die along with their full-term babies.”
Littlejohn rejected media perceptions in the West that the one-child policy is waning, countering that “when the Chinese communist party tweaks the policy, makes a minor adjustment to it, for some reason that fact gets reported as ‘China is abandoning the one-child policy,’ which is not true.”
According to her, coercion involved in the one-child policy is being used to keep the communist party in power.
“The core of the policy, the centerpiece of the policy, is not how many children the government allows a woman to have, it’s the coercion with which they enforce the limit,” she said.
Littlejohn added that even if a couple is granted a second child, they would still need to have a birth permit – if they do not get one, the mother is still subject to a forced abortion until the end of her term.
Outside of forced abortion, the one-child policy has opened the door to other human rights issues, such as human trafficking and gendercide, Littlejohn said.
“The fact that the Chinese government imposes this coercive low birth limit, combine that with the preference for boys and what you end up with is sex-selective abortion, or gendercide.”
“Right now there are thirty-seven million more men living in China than women,” she said, “and that’s driving human trafficking and sexual slavery, not only within China but the surrounding countries.”
The policy is unlike any other in the world in that it requires all women to obtain a birth permit before becoming pregnant and children of unwed mothers are subjected to abortions. And it monitors the reproductive cycles of all women of childbearing age through a system of mandatory, regular, and crudely invasive physical check-ups.
Smith says the policy has created an “atmosphere of fear” where anonymous pregnancy informants spy on citizens.
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“The brave pregnant woman who refuses to give in is usually detained and beaten – or, if she goes into hiding, her relatives are detained and beaten. Families that succeed in hiding an “out-of-plan” pregnancy are punished with fines up to ten times the average annual income,” he explained.
Smith said the abortions have resulted in a policy of “gendercide” where more than 120 boys are born for every 100 girls. This has created a bachelor society of men who will be unable to marry and has given rise to more crime, sex trafficking, prostitution, and other problems.
He said the policy has resulted in a sky-high suicide rate for Chinese women who face such a brutal and terrorizing regime.
Smith said those who don’t believe the one-child policy is resulting in forced abortions need only look at the numerous media reports, reports from Chinese people who have fled the country, and human rights activists monitoring the situation.