On September 13, All Girls Allowed (AGA) sent out a press release with the bold title, “Chinese Government Bans Forced Abortion.” We wish we could agree with our colleagues at AGA. Unfortunately, this time, we cannot.
AGA’s claim that “the Chinese Government issued a document to Family Planning offices that bans forced abortion and sterilization” is based on links to two Chinese documents and a call to a family planning official in Chonqing City. The press release states, “What the officer in Chonqing said was incredible. Not only did they ban forced abortion, but the change came from the top down: “Earlier the government issued a document to all family planning committees,” he said. “Everyone has received it.” The AGA press release touted this statement as “a major change” and stated, with respect to the One Child Policy, “its days are numbered.”
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has no doubt that forced abortions continue to happen at this very moment in China. When the message goes out that this is nolonger happening, it undermines the movement to stop it.
Considering the facts set forth in the AGA press release, WRWF reaches the opposite conclusion: The Chinese Government has NOT BANNED forced abortion. Until proven otherwise, we believe that any rhetoric generated by the Chinese Communist Party ostensibly banning forced abortion is propaganda designed to deflect the heat generated by the notorious forced abortion at seven months of Feng Jianmei in June 2012. Here’s why:
1) Forced abortion has long been officially “banned” in China, yet it happens all the time.
In January 2011, Chinese President Hu Jintao told Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that China has no forced abortion policy, yet numerous cases of forced abortion have surfaced since that time. In addition, Article 4 of The Population and Family Planning Law of the People’s Republic of China already protects against forced abortion. It states that Family Planning Officials shall “enforce the law in a civil manner, and they may not infringe upon legitimate rights and interests of citizens.” http://www.gov.cn/english/laws/2005-10/11/content_75954.htm This law is not worth the paper it is written on. Many credible reports of forced abortion have surfaced since this law was promulgated in 2002. To see examples from 2012, read WRWF’s Complaint to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/?p=717
2) The documents cited in the AGA press release do not support the conclusion that the Chinese government has banned forced abortion.
Both documents mention a ban on late-term forced abortion only. They are silent on early and mid-term forced abortion, and therefore do not ban such forced abortions. Further, both documents take the position that late-term abortions must be voluntary. The Chinese Communist Party, however, already insists that abortions must be “voluntary,” and forced abortion is still practiced. In April 2012, for example, Pan Chunyan was grabbed out of her grocery store and forced to place her thumbprint on a document authorizing her abortion at eight months of pregnancy. Does this count as “voluntary” under the Policy?
These documents do not cite any penalty for breaking the “ban” on forced abortion. Nor do these documents discuss what will happen to women who are more than six months pregnant, but who cannot or will not pay the often impossible fines. To the contrary, both documents extol the virtues of the One Child Policy. To read English translations of these documents, scroll down.
3) The documents cited in the AGA press release do not remove the financial or structural incentives that keep forced abortion in place.
The often excessive fines paid by couples to save an “out of plan” pregnancy are used to feather the pockets of family planning and other officials. These fines can reach up to ten times a person’s annual salary. Job loss is another form of financial coercion and can be catastrophic. In March 2012, the head of the Chemistry Department at Renmin University in Beijing jumped to his death because he was accused of having a second child and threatened with being “discharged from public employment.” Meanwhile, officials are promoted or demoted based on whether they meet birth, abortion and sterilization quotas.
Professor Commits Suicide Over Violating China’s One-Child Policy
Jackie Sheehan, “Cruel Cut,” South China Morning Post, 7/25/12
Clicking the “read more” link on the AGA press release and scrolling down will reveal that the release eventually mentions the fact that the documents cited are silent on the issue of early and mid-term forced abortions, and do not address the issue of “huge fines” as a form of coercion. These nuances, however, were predictably lost in the blast of the sensational headline.
WRWF agrees that pressure is mounting to end forced abortion in China. However, to announce that the Chinese government has already banned it is, in our opinion, premature and inaccurate. We need to keep the pressure on, not celebrate propaganda designed to take the pressure off.
Sign a petition to end forced abortion here.
Watch a video about forced abortion in China here.
Stop Forced Abortion – China’s War on Women! Video (4 mins)
Here are English translations of the Chinese documents referenced by AGA.
2012 Semi-Annual Working Conference
On National Population and Family Planning
July 20, 2012
On July 19, the National Population and Family Planning held its semi-annual work conference in Beijing. The main tasks of this conference are: implementing a series of deployment on carrying out the family planning in the new period, focusing on the “12th Five-Year Population Development Plan” and the “Development Plan on Population and Family Planning,” summarizing achievements, analyzing current situation, deepening understanding of development, clarifying key tasks, further liberating ideas, deepening China’s reform, facilitating the development of the population and family planning in a sustained and healthy way. The Minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, Wang Xia made the semi-annual report. Gou Qingming, Resident Discipline Inspection Team Leader to NPFPC, Wang Peian, Cui Li, Chen Li, Vice Ministers of NPFPC, Yang Yuxue, Executive Vice President of China Family Planning Association, Jiang Fan, President of the Society of Family Planning and Reproductive Health, attended the meeting.
Since this year, all the major works of population and family planning have made solid progress, and initial achievements have been made. Intensified supervision has been increased, all the major projects are progressing smoothly, breakthroughs have been made with a number of difficult issues, the work at grassroots has become more consolidated and the good style of the construction work has been further strengthened. All of these works have laid a solid foundation for fulfilling the targets of the whole year and pushing forward the implementation of the “12th Five-Year Plan.”
In her speech, Minister Wang Xia pointed out that we should conscientiously sum up the experiences of successes in population and family planning work, and be more steadfast with our confidence and determinations. The Party Central Committee and the State Council have always understood and addressed the population issue from a strategic and integral elevation. Especially since the reform and opening up policy, the decision making has been practiced in a comprehensive manner, embracing both population and development, and the basic national policy of family planning has been persistently carried out. As a result, the population and family planning work of our country has achieved remarkable success that is recognized by the world. Four hundred million births were prevented and a prolonged condition of high population dividend, in which there is a low population dependent ratio and a high saving ratio, was created. This has effectively alleviated the pressure of population growth on resources and environment, tremendously improved conditions of living and development and made indelible contributions to the reforms and opening up and the rapid social and economic development. These successes have also laid a solid foundation for better implementation of the population and family planning program in the new era.
Wang Xia emphasized that we should understand our new situation and further enhance the sense of responsibility and the sense of mission.
First, we should understand the impact from the population changes to the basis of the transformation of the economic and social development in the new era. The overall transformation of the development of China’s population is accompanied by the transformation of China’s economic and social development. We must put the population problem into the pattern of economic and social development as a whole. We should understand that the population development is very important to the economic and social development. We should not only focus on addressing the real problem, but also strengthen the strategic research. We should crack various problems with a new way of thinking, and enhance the ability to explore the use of the law and scientific decision-making. Population development is the basis for the integration of the national economy and all kinds of resources. We should gradually improve “people-oriented” service management policies, establish a service management system to adapt to the large population and social pattern. We should continue strengthening social management, we should pay attention to the supporting role of population-based management to improving the people’s livelihood policy, we should build up a population-based information service mechanism, we should focus on the interaction of demographic information sharing and the urban-rural basic public services convergence, we should strengthen the monitoring development and early warning and forecast on population. We should have a profound understanding of the requirement of service-oriented government building for accelerating the transformation of the population service management functions. We should adhere to the principle of “people-oriented,” in order to achieve the aim of the equalization of basic public services; public demand and economic development, social development should be our guide. We should strengthen active service and co-ordination, form a new pattern of social pluralism collaborative governance. At the same time, we should establish the concept of putting investment in people first, establish a healthy population policy system, and assign more public resources to improving people’s livelihood. We should firmly establish the sense of purpose and a sense of service, continue to expand service areas, focus management on services and enhance services decision-making, the grassroots services, the ability to serve people. Fourth, we should have a profound understanding of the problems and shortcomings of the current population and family planning work. We should be vigilant, increase confidence, be self-pressurized, and effectively improve the overall quality and level of work.
Wang Xia said we should unify our thinking, clarify the key tasks. First, always adhere to the basic national policy of family planning, which is a fundamental task, effectively stabilize the low birth rate, the primary task at present. Stabilizing the low birth rate is a primary task. It’s imperative to strengthen the grassroots work in urban and rural areas, establish and improve the urban and rural working system, improve the long-term working mechanism, accelerate the realization of the full coverage of Family Planning Services. We should further strengthen the organization and leadership, assign responsibilities, implement carefully the deployment in the key areas and key groups, promote the transformation of backward areas. We should adhere to the combination of advocacy, law-based administration and interest orientation. We should guide the people to implement family planning voluntarily, absolutely stop performing late-term abortions, absolutely stop vicious cases due to illegal administration. Seriously follow the rules to investigate and deal with the problem of party members, cadres, rich and famous persons, create a good social atmosphere for family planning work.
Second, the construction of population information is the key for solving the population problem. We should improve the working mechanism of the information technology; put the population information construction to the top of our priority. Conscientiously implement the population integrated management information system project, accelerate the construction of the full population information database, strengthen top-level design, [implement] uniform standards and build a unified information platform. Population and Family Planning Commissions of all provinces/autonomous regions/municipalities and of cities should follow the standard of the national platform. We should take the grassroots communities as our base, further improve the population registration and statistics system, speed up the sharing of information resources, further improve the collection and sharing system, and build a dynamic update mechanism. We should strengthen information, comprehensive development and utilization, build a full demographic information platform to provide a reference for scientific decision-making of the Party committees, governments and relevant departments, and provide information to improve the level of population service management.
Third, gradually improve the legal and policy system. We should accelerate research to establish the population development policy system, and implement the incentive fees for one-child parents. In accordance with the requirements of the central authorities, in conjunction with relevant departments, [we should] step up the policy of supporting the population of the study and the national main functional area planning, further promote and improve relevant laws and regulations.
Fourth, strengthen family planning public service system. [We should] seriously study the range of population and family planning of basic public services, projects, key tasks, explore realistic modes, and establish basic public services and improve family planning implementation mechanisms. [We should] study and develop and promote the implementation of the 12th Five-Year Plan of the family planning service system. [We should] fight for the standardization public service facilities for each county. Pay more attention to the management of the specification of the service agencies, improve public education, technical services, eugenics guidance, contraceptive distribution, information consultation and follow-up services, reproductive health, training of personnel, improvement of service quality. Take the implementation of the national free pre-pregnancy health check of the eugenics project as an opportunity, to further consolidate and enhance the population and family planning public service system level. [We should] actively seek the attention and support of the Party committees, governments and relevant departments to ensure the stability of the grassroots institutions and team. [We should] enhance the overall capacity of the workforce, strengthen personnel training and incentives to strengthen building a professional style. We should be politically reliable, with multi-job experience, reasonable structure, creativity, hard work and honesty.
Fifth, we should research large projects and large investment to improve the development of Population and Family Planning. We should build a large project for our large population. This is our important criterion to measure the performance for each unit. This is also an important assessment for our year-end appraisal. We should strengthen the project awareness, reserve a number of large projects, and lay the foundation for a big investment.
Sixth, we should uphold and improve the responsibility system of management by objectives. We should improve the examination content, set up scientific assessment indicators and a target system, and explore the establishment of an assessment index system to adapt to the characteristics of the eastern, central and western [regions]. We should improve assessment methods to reduce examination times, alleviate the burden for the grassroots, and guide the grassroots to work effectively. We should build an exam application system and teach our team discipline.
Wang Peian made a speech in conclusion. He pointed out that the meeting had a clear theme, further unified our thinking and understanding, and encouraged our team. We should learn this report and make our own work plan, strengthen the work of guidance and push forward the work in the second half of the year, greet the 18th National Party Congress with our outstanding achievements.
Participants to the Conference conducted earnest discussions on how to do a good job under current situations, while focusing on studying and understanding the spirit of the report by Minister Wang Xia. They also put up very good ideas and suggestions. Liaison officials from concurrent commissioner units — which are the General Office of the State Council, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Health and the National Bureau of Statistics, Directors-General (Secretaries of Party Lead Group) and Directors of Office of Population and Family Planning Commissions of all provinces/autonomous regions/municipalities and of cities with independent planning status and the Xinjiang Construction Corps, Directors of Office of the Family Planning Leading Groups of the People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Armed Police, responsible officials of the Population and Family Planning Offices of Organs Directly under Party Central Committee and Central Governmental Organs, principal responsible official of all Departments of NPFPC and all institutions affiliated to NPFPC — participated in the Conference.
Chongqing City Bans Late-Term Abortions and Prohibits Forced Sterilizations
August 31, 2012
Link to Original Chinese Document:
On August 30, the Population and Family Planning Commission of Chongqing municipal government held a news conference on the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the law “Population and Family Planning,” the government said that the city’s population and family planning services have constantly improved in recent years. “Sunshine IPPF” received remarkable results. The citizens enjoy the right of information of the right of selection [of contraceptive method]. “Late-term induction of labor” is strictly prohibited.
Sunshine IPPF has covered the districts of the city, unified content, form and timing of population and family planning information in the cities, counties, towns and villages. People can learn the regulations and the implementation of the family planning policy through television.
At the same time, the city has fully launched an action to introduce contraceptive knowledge. People can choose the contraceptive methods they like. People who take long-term contraceptive methods get a reward from the service sector. In addition, the mandatory ring ligation is strictly prohibited. It requires the parties signing an agreement before proceeding induction of labor. The spokesman of Municipal Population and Family Planning Commission said, the city strictly prohibits the “late-term” induction of labor, there was no case like Shaanxi Ankang — 7-month pregnant mother was forced to abort occurred in our city. According to regulations, more than six months pregnancy is “late-term” pregnancy.
It is learned that the city has a family planning reward and a special reward. The local government has an additional family planning reward. If qualified, one-son/two-daughters parents can apply for 1080 yuan per year; one-daughter parents can apply for 1560 yuan; one-child-died parents can apply for 3120 yuan as special assistance; one-child-disability parents can apply for 2760 yuan per year.