The Chinese government announced this week at its Third Plenum that it will “fine-tune” its One-Child Policy, a coercive birth planning policy that has been in place for over 33 years.
The changes will allow couples to have two children if one of the parents is an only child. All Girls Allowed welcomes the news of the policy’s relaxation, but expresses disappointment that the Chinese government has not gone the logical and compassionate route — abolishing the policy altogether.
Economic and demographic experts agree that the policy, which limits most Chinese couples to one child, has proven disastrous for China’s economic and social development. Chinese policymakers have expressed fears of over-population and resource scarcity, but now the resulting consequence of the policy is under-population. Last year, China’s working-age population peaked, marking the beginning of a severe labor shortage in the years to come. Due to the gendercide of girls that has been exacerbated by the policy, there are at least 37 million more men than women, leading to steep climbs in the rates of sex trafficking, HIV/AIDS transmission and violent crime.
But the greatest indictment against the One-Child Policy is the use of coercion in its enforcement. Untold numbers of forced abortions and sterilizations continue to take place to this day, making it the greatest violence against women and children in the world today. In June 2012, one of these horrific crimes was exposed in a graphic photograph of Feng Jianmei’s seven-month-old son, whose dead corpse was left lying next to her on the hospital bed following a forced abortion. More recently, Liu Xinwen shared on international television how her six-month-old child was forcibly aborted after Family Planning Officials kicked down her door and dragged her to the hospital. These women, who courageously came forward despite threats of repercussions, are the face of billions of unnamed mothers who have suffered the same violation of their most basic rights.
While All Girls Allowed applauds the Chinese leadership for taking the first steps to ease the One-Child Policy, we believe it is not enough. What about the mother who cannot obtain a birth permit simply because she is unmarried? In June, the world watched the dramatic rescue of the “sewer baby,” whose mother was unmarried and gave birth in a toilet for fear of the authorities. Or what about the families that are eligible to have a second child, but get pregnant too soon? Under current law, many couples must wait at least four years to have another child. The restrictions are oppressive and unnecessary. This foolish and cruel policy should have been abolished in its entirety yesterday, not merely tweaked today.
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To China’s senior leadership, we call upon you to listen both to wisdom and to the cries of your people. Most importantly, we implore you to heed the commands of God, who blessed mankind and commanded them to “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28)
LifeNews Note: Brian Lee is the director of All Girls Allowed, a human rights group.