Clinton Can’t Say if Obama Asked Hu About Forced Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 3, 2011   |   7:04PM   |   Washington, DC

When China President Hu Jintao visited Washington, D.C. weeks ago, pro-life advocates pressed President Barack Obama and his administration to ask the foreign leader about the problem of forced abortions on Chinese women.

In a Tuesday hearing in the House of Representatives, 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.

Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, a pro-life Republican from California, asked Clinton the question:

“Let me ask you — I’d like to be specific, and you didn’t get a chance to answer this, did President Obama confront President Hu during his visit to Washington on the issue of forced abortion? I think that could be answered with probably a yes or a no,” he said.

“We consistently raise that with the Chinese and I want to just say,” Clinton responded.

Rohrbacher cut her off and asked, “”So, is that a yes, that President Hu was actually confronted by President Obama on the issue of forced abortion.”

“I — I cannot answer that,” Clinton said. “I cannot answer that yes or no on that particular visit. I can tell you that we consistently raise it in our highest
diplomatic encounters with the Chinese.”

Although Clinton’s response made it appear the Obama administration, at some point in time by high-ranking diplomatic officials, has pressed the Chinese government on the problems of forcing women in China to have abortions, Clinton backtracked when pressed further.

“Does that include — does that include — you say the highest — has President Hu been confronted with the issue of forced abortion by our president?” Rohrbacher continued.

“I will have to get an answer for you,” Clinton admitted, before adding, “but let me say that this is an issue that I started raising in 1995. And I continue to raise it, and I am the chief diplomat and I raise it in every setting that I can.”

“Then can you get back to me — we can’t get us a yes or no now, but maybe you could get back to us? We will call you on this, as to whether President Hu has been confronted, himself, on the issue of forced abortion,” Rohrbacher promised.

“Well, I — I will certainly do that,” Clinton promised.

The exchange between the congressman and Clinton came after Clinton completely ignored the issue of forced abortion earlier in the hearing.

“In light of this massive, ongoing crime against women, I would like, respectively, to know if you or the president raised, directly, in a face-to-face manner the issue of forced abortion in China when President Hu Jintao was in Washington?” Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey asked.

Clinton, never mentioning forced abortions, responded:

Well, Congressman, let me start with your visit to Japan and thank you for bringing greater visibility to this very
painful problem that I am deeply concerned about. In fact, I for the first time created in the department the position
of Special Advisor on Children’s Issues. It’s something that I have worked on for my entire adult life.
And we are actively engaging foreign governments to go ahead and — go ahead and join The Hague Conventions,
both on child abduction and on adoption. And I have raised it in every meeting that I have had with my Japanese
counterparts. And I’ve had many Japanese counterparts because the governments have changed in the two years that
I have been involved. And I know the president has also raised it.

I appreciate your going to Japan, and I thank you there for the kind words about the counselor (ph) affairs officers
there because this is at the highest priority level in the administration. It is not only Japan, but Japan, unfortunately,
has many more of these cases. We are also concerned about South Korea and many other countries in Asia.
And, in fact, our special advisor hosted a — a meeting for all of our chief submissions from Asian countries
including Bangladesh, China, Japan, Laos, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Timor to encourage
that this be put on the top of the list.

With respect to the pending cases, it is my belief that if we can get the conventions approved, we will have a
stronger argument on the pending cases. I think that there will be a recognition that Japanese society has changed its
views about how these cases should be handled. And I think that will open more possibilities for the families that
are, unfortunately, suffering from the abduction of their children.

Her time for the response ran out because she had used up all five minutes of Congressman Smith’s time without ever getting to the root of the problem.

In remarks received from Smith’s office following the hearing, Smith let Clinton know in a statement he delivered during the hearing that China’s one-child policy is a problem.

“Since 1979, brothers and sisters have been illegal in China as part of the barbaric one child per couple policy. And for 30 years, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has vigorously supported, funded, defended, promoted, even celebrated these massive crimes against humanity,” Smith told Clinton. “The uncontested facts are these: Any Chinese, Tibetan, or Uyghur mother without a birth permit is put under coercive pressure to abort – if need be, she is physically forced to do so. All unwed moms are compelled to abort. In what can only be described as a search-and-destroy mission, disabled children are aborted as part of a nationwide eugenics program.”