Population Control in Practice,
by William P. Hoar

 

Operating from the premise that there are too many Chinese, authorities of that communist regime have ordered the forced abortions, sterilizations, and infanticide of millions of their countrymen. Family planning is "voluntary," or so they say. "Coercion is not permitted," declares the State Family Planning Commission. Of course, not only are they killing babies, the Reds are liars to boot. For there is no doubt that the population police in Red China have the power of life and death, and that they do not flinch from ruthless use of that force.

The Omnipotent State
In Red China, life both before and after birth is at the mercy of the state. There have even been reports published in credible sources — reports that have prompted congressional concerns — about the selling of human fetuses in China for medicinal purposes, as a kind of macabre health food. Being born does not mean the state won't decide you are extraneous either. Torture, starvation, and sexual abuse have been visited upon the helpless in state orphanages (who are often children abandoned because of Red China's coercive population policies).

Numerous women have been physically hauled off to clinics for abortions of unlawful children. These atrocities have taken place because the parents either were not among the political elites or had not followed the government's policy.

A former Chinese "family planning" official remarked a couple of years ago (though the incident could just as easily have taken place today) about a typical occurrence: "It was part of my work to force women ... to have abortions. In the evening, when the couple was likely to be at home, we would go to their houses and drag the woman out. If the woman was not at home, we would take her husband or another member along and keep them in custody until the woman turned herself in."

The assumption that Red China's "overpopulation" makes it necessary for such harsh actions is based on fallacious information and reasoning. Sure, there are a lot of Chinese; after all, it's a big country. Yet are we not told over and over how much better things are now that the Reds have taken over — not only better than in pre-communist days, but with progress advancing by leaps and bounds? (Never mind that modern free market countries don't get credit for having better living conditions than, say, before 1949.) Yet even in the more austere days of the last decade, it wasn't too many people that made China poorer, but rather the lack of freedom.

As Professor Jacqueline Kasun explained in her 1987 book, The War Against Population, the population density of the People's Republic of China was then about the same as that of Pennsylvania: "... far more densely populated nations around them in Asia have forged ahead of them in economic development. Taiwan, with a population density five times as great as that of China's, produces eight times as much per capita and has an as large or larger volume of trade. The Republic of Korea, with a population density four times as great as China' s, has a per capita output seven times as large." Yes, the numbers have changed since, but not the underlying facts: New York State, for example, remains more densely populated than Red China, and Marylanders are even more densely distributed; Massachusetts has more than twice the population density of China, and New Jersey more than triples it.

No, it isn't sheer numbers that demand that Chinese babies be killed. Some of the demand comes from unbridled power in the hands of corrupt men. And the "new communist man" turns out to be quite corrupt indeed. When Steven Mosher, in a Stanford graduate program, became one of the first non-communist Westerners to be allowed to live in rural China in the 1970s, his revelations of what went on there got him kicked out of that university because publication of the truth offended Beijing, before whom Westerners were eager to kowtow.

The new Communist Party bureaucrats, Mosher found, had much more power than the village elites did before the revolution, holding a concentration of authority that bred corruption. "Officials awarded themselves special privileges, held feasts when other villagers were going without fish or meat, and built themselves large homes with public monies," wrote Mosher in China Misperceived (1990). "These officials, and their superiors, were also implicated in an array of ongoing human rights violations, from forced abortions and sterilizations in the population control program, to the arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of individuals in political campaigns."

Knowledge of what is going on inside Communist China is widespread enough that even the U.S. State Department — which rarely finds a Chinese communist that it doesn't want to truckle to — has felt compelled to be critical in print of Beijing's practices. As the U.S. State Department notes in its latest human rights report, Red China's abuses — including involuntary organ transplants from executed prisoners, torture, and forced abortions — continue to be practiced. But as of the end of last year, "almost all public dissent against the central authorities was silenced." Forced confessions and restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, association, and assembly are also recognized in the State Department report, which concludes that Beijing continues "to commit widespread and well-docu-mented human-rights abuses."

In other words, things aren't much different than in 1982, when Christopher Wren wrote in the New York Times about thousands of Chinese women being "rounded up and forced to have abortions." The liberal paper spoke of them being "locked in detention cells or hauled before mass rallies and harangued into consenting to abortion." Then there were the "vigilantes" who "abducted pregnant women on the streets and hauled them off, sometimes handcuffed or trussed, to abortion clinics." Wren even described "aborted babies which were ... crying when they were born."

Be they babies, born or unborn, or even organs from Chinese citizens, all fall under the purview of the state. The July 10, 1995 issue of THE NEW AMERICAN included coverage about the harvesting of organs from inmates in China's gulag, as had been revealed in detail by Chinese-American activist Harry Wu. Some of the organs are taken for the use of the elite in the Communist Party's cadre, often from executed prisoners, but occasionally from live prisoners as well. The executed, it should be stressed, should not be compared to those in the West who receive fair trials and capital punishment. It has been estimated that there are 68 different offenses for which one can be executed in China. Last year they included poisoning livestock, killing a tiger, damaging public property, speculation and profiteering, forgery, illegal possession or sale of firearms and ammunition, and resale of value-added tax receipts.

The State Department likewise finds that there were so many Chinese put to death last year that "executed prisoners are among the primary source of organs for transplants in China." This trafficking in vital organs is gruesome business. Last year congressional interest was piqued for a while concerning reports appearing in such papers as the Hong Kong-based Eastern Express, based on numerous interviews from doctors and others in Shenzhen Province, that described the sale of aborted fetuses — at $1.25 each. These were being used, according to the reports, in food products which, among other alleged benefits, could make your skin smoother.

MFN for Baby Killers
However, none of Beijing's atrocities toward women and infants, orphans, prisoners, or others has been enough to make the Clinton Administration reconsider taking China off most favored nation (MFN) trade status. In fact, things got worse in China after the Administration cut the link between human rights and MFN (up for renewal again in June). But for President Clinton to do the principled thing would be tantamount to an admission that his Administration has made a policy error — a bad move in an election year.

Past abuses by Beijing, even after they became widely known, did not prevent the U.S. government from funding China's population control measures, which also have enjoyed the praise and support of the United Nations and the World Bank, among others. For example, as forced abortions and infanticide were being exposed, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities was lauding China's "exceptionally high implementation rate" and "high commitment." The Clinton Administration, furthermore, has reinterpreted asylum law so that Chinese women who have fled their country in order to save their unborn children from abortion are now considered in the U.S. as fugitives from justice back in Red China — and deportation proceedings have been initiated against many to have them returned to their persecutors.

Human Rights Efforts
Other traditionally liberal groups, however, have not been so muffled over China's abuses. Last month, for example, THE NEW AMERICAN mentioned the lengthy Human Rights Watch/Asia report, Death by Default, which catalogues the fatal neglect and deliberate starvation in state orphanages in China. The report contains photos, including a heart-wrenching one of an emaciated youngster, near death, tied to his bed. Such "orphans," even China admits, are often unwanted by-products of a system where but one child per family is legal and boys are preferred.

In mid-March, Amnesty International (AI) launched its drive against human rights violations in Communist China. While AI spokesmen acknowledged at a Washington press conference that it doesn't even take a position on China's coercive population measures, the group can recognize abuses. For instance, as described in No One Is Safe, an AI publication that concerns political repression and abuse of power in China during this decade, one section is concerned with documented cases involving "enforced birth control." Villagers in Feng-jiazhuang and Longtiangou, for instance, tell how a campaign was begun in their region in 1994 under the slogan, "Better to have more graves than more than one child."

Then there is the refugee from Guangdong Province whose wife gave birth to a child in 1982; they were denied permission by the Reds to have another. When the wife became pregnant in 1987, she was forced to undergo an abortion. Four years later, when she again became pregnant, she felt compelled to hide that fact; the couple relocated to another village to live with relatives. "In September [1991] local militia and family planning officials from the city of Foshan surrounded the village in the middle of the night and searched all the houses. They forced all the pregnant women into trucks and drove them to the hospital. The refugee's wife gave birth on the journey and a doctor at the hospital reportedly killed the baby with an injection. The other women had forced abortions."

*   *   *

The Red Chinese not long ago disputed the exiled Dalai Lama's choice for Panchen Lama, the second holiest monk. The authorities simply took the six-year-old and "disappeared" him and his parents. They haven't been seen since. Similarly, when the right to life of innocents is not protected but turned over to an omnipotent state, those rights also disappear.

 

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