Testimony of Reggie Littlejohn, President
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers
December 3, 2015
Congressional-Executive Commission on China
Honorable members of the Commission, Representative Chris Smith, Senator Marco Rubio, distinguished fellow panelists, ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for this opportunity to testify here today, as we discuss the fact that China’s new Two-Child Policy continues the same massive crimes against women and children that were committed under the One Child Policy.
Xinhua News Agency reported on October 29, 2015 that China will move to a two-child policy for all couples, “abandoning its decades-long one-child policy.”
Characterizing this latest modification as “abandoning” the One-Child Policy is misleading. A two-child policy will not end any of the human rights abuses caused by the One Child Policy, including forced abortion, involuntary sterilization or the sex-selective abortion of baby girls.
Coercion is the core of the policy. Instituting a two-child policy will not end forced abortion or forced sterilization. As blind activist Chen Guangcheng succinctly tweeted:
This is nothing to be happy about. First the #CCP would kill any baby after one. Now they will kill any baby after two. #ChinaOneChildPolicy
The reason given for this adjustment is entirely demographic: “to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population.” The adjustment is a tacit admission that continuation of the one-child policy will lead to economic and demographic disaster. The policy was originally instituted for economic reasons. It is ironic that through this very policy, China has written its own economic death sentence.
Noticeably absent from the Chinese Communist party’s announcement is any mention of human rights. The Chinese Communist Party has not suddenly developed a conscience or grown a heart. Even though it will now allow all couples to have a second child, China has not promised to end forced abortion, forced sterilization, or forced contraception (1).
Indeed, the CCP has gone out of its way to emphasize that family planning restrictions will remain in force. Shortly after the announcement of the two-child policy, ViceMinister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission Wang Peian said that “China would not abandon its family planning restrictions.” He said, “A large population is China’s basic national condition so we must adhere to the basic state policy of family planning” (2). He also said that “China needs to . . . promote birth monitoring” before the two-child policy comes into effect (3).
It appears, therefore, that China plans to maintain its iron grip over the wombs of women. The Chinese Communist Party will continue to intrude into the bedrooms and between the sheets of the families in China, requiring an arduous process to obtain a “birth permit,” a system of paid informants, and ultrasound checks to make sure that a woman’s IUD is still in place (4).
Coercion is the core of the policy. Instituting a two-child policy will not end forced abortion or forced sterilization.
The problem with the one-child policy is not the number of children “allowed.” Rather, it is the fact that the CCP is telling women how many children they can have and then enforcing that limit through forced abortion and forced sterilization. There is no guarantee that the CCP will cease their appalling methods of enforcement. Women will still have to obtain a government-issued birth permit, for the first and second child, or they may be subject to forced abortion. It will still be illegal for an unmarried woman to have a child. Regardless of the number of children allowed, women who get pregnant without permission will still be dragged out of their homes, strapped down to tables, and forced to abort babies that they want.
The impact of China’s Two-Child Policy on Women in One Area of Rural China (5)
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers runs a campaign to end the sex-selective abortion of baby girls in China. Our network of fieldworkers on the ground have saved almost 200 baby girls in one area of rural China.
Through this network, WRWF gets direct, up to the minute information about coercive population control in our area of China. I communicated with the head of our network over the weekend. Here is what she said about the current condition in our villages after the announcement of the Two-Child Policy:
Forced Sterilization continues.
The women in our villages do not see the new Two-Child Policy as a big improvement, because of the threat of sterilization. It is a policy that women must be sterilized after the second child – especially if both children are girls. Women who have a boy as their first child are not likely to have a second child, because after the second child, they would be forcibly sterilized. These sterilizations ruin not only a woman’s reproductive health, but her general health as well. After these sterilizations, the vast majority of women are “never the same again.” They will never recover their strength. For example, in our villages there is no running water. Women need to pump water out of a deep well. Before they are sterilized, women are strong enough to pump water. After they are sterilized, they are no longer strong enough to pump water. This weakness lasts forever and is devastating, because the family depends on the strength of the mother to do farm work.
Especially women whose first child is a girl feel they have to hide their second pregnancy, because they will be automatically sterilized after the second child. If their second child is also a girl, they do not want to be sterilized, because the procedure may break their health and because they want to try again for a boy. Many women will abort or abandon their second daughter under the Two-Child Policy, just as they did under the One Child Policy. The second daughters who are allowed to be born will be hidden, and thus denied hukou, as in our villages, hukou is given to second children only after the mother has been sterilized. Requiring sterilization in order for your child to register and obtain a birth certificate is an atrocity against both women and children.
Forced abortion continues.
If a woman is illegally pregnant now with her second child, Family Planning Officials will come to her home to demand an abortion. The Two-Child Policy has yet to be fully implemented. Women whose child was conceived before the implementation of the Two Child Policy are still subject to forced abortion or astronomical “terror fines” (6). If a woman wants a second child, she must first obtain a “birth permit.” These permits are not likely to become available until well into next year.
According to our network, if a woman is caught illegally pregnant and cannot pay the fine, she will still be forcibly aborted, as was the case under the One Child Policy. According to the president of a local hospital and a family planning official contacted by our network, if a woman runs away in an attempt to escape the fine, and is caught, she will be forcibly aborted. The woman will have no recourse to a court of law, as courts will not accept such cases.
In our villages, whether or not a woman is actually forced to have an abortion depends on the circumstances. Women who are poor, whose relatives do not work for the government, and who do not have any power to defend themselves are more likely to be forcibly aborted than women who have money or whose relatives work for the government. Another factor is whether the Family Planning Official handling that particular case is merciful or merciless. A pitiless Family Planning Official confronting a poor and powerless woman will often lead to a forced abortion.
Women in our villages have resorted to desperate measures to avoid forced abortion when faced with an illegal pregnancy. The following situation is common in our area:
“Ai Bao” (not her real name) is a two-month old second daughter, with a threeyear-old sister. Since this was an illegal second pregnancy, Ai Bao’s mother tried to hide her pregnancy. Still, a Family Planning Officer found her and pressed her to get abortion. Ai Bao’s mother found an un-married pregnant woman, paid that woman ¥ 2000, and arranged for this woman to use the name of Ai Bao’s mother to get an abortion. In this way, Ai Bao’s mother obtained an abortion certification from the hospital in her own name and turned it in to local Family Planning Office – to escape the forced abortion of her own daughter, Ai Bao.
Gendercide will continue.
Instituting a two-child policy will not end gendercide, the sex-selective abortion of baby girls. Indeed, areas in which two children currently are allowed are especially vulnerable to gendercide. According to the 2009 British Medical Journal study of data from the 2005 national census, in nine provinces, for “second order births” where the first child is a girl, 160 boys were born for every 100 girls. In two provinces, Jiangsu and Anhui, for the second child, there were 190 boys for every hundred girls born. This study stated, “sex selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males.” Because of this gendercide, there are an estimated 37 million Chinese men who will never marry because their future wives were terminated before they were born. This gender imbalance is a powerful, driving force behind trafficking in women and sexual slavery, not only in China, but in neighboring nations as well.
There is little reason to hope that the two-child policy will result in a significant improvement of the sex ratios at birth. Many women whose first child is a boy may choose not to bear a second child because of the great expense of raising a child in China. In the alternative, they may choose not to have a second child to avoid the forced sterilization required after two children. Women whose first child is a girl will still abort second daughters in order to have a son.
In addition, a technology that is potentially dangerous to girls has found its way to China. It has recently been discovered that “cell free” fetal DNA can be found in the blood of the pregnant mother. Noninvasive prenatal testing, whose ominous acronym is “NIPT,” is a new way to detect chromosomal abnormalities of a fetus through analyzing the blood of the mother. This simple blood test given to the mother, however, can be used to determine the gender of a fetus as early as seven weeks into the pregnancy. Results are available within 48 hours. Where brutal son preference meets non-invasive, early sex determination of a fetus, inevitably baby girls will be selectively aborted (7).
Hukou Abuses Continue.
WRWF’s network reports that in our area, unless a woman is sterilized, her second child will be denied household registration or hukou. Without hukou, children are denied access to healthcare, education and other public benefits.
For illegal extra births, Chinese Family Planning Officials may exact enormous sums for a family to obtain hukou. Frustrated fathers have lost control and murdered family planning officials (8). Some men have resorted to suicide in protest over the excessive fines imposed by the government (9). The spirit of the Cultural Revolution lives on in the family planning police, who have been able to steal, intimidate, torture and kill with relative impunity.
There has been recent talk of registering 13 million people who do not have hukou. The motive appears to be an attempt to “make the population look less unbalanced” (10).
WRWF demands the unconditional end of the hukou system as being inhumane. Eliminating hukou by itself, however, will not end gendercide unless it is accompanied by the elimination of forced sterilization and all coercive birth limits. Women will not register a second child for hukou if they will be sterilized for doing so. Women will not register second daughters for hukou if by doing so they are giving up the chance to have a son.
China’s Massive Population Control Apparatus Will Remain Intact.
Some have publicly wondered: What will happen to the army of Family Planning Officials, now that China has “abolished” the One Child Policy (11)? This question is overly optimistic. The Two-Child Policy remains just as coercive as the former One-Child Policy. This infrastructure of coercion can be turned to crush dissent of any kind. It will therefore be maintained under the Two-Child Policy.
There is growing unrest inside China. “[I]nternal Chinese law enforcement data on socalled “mass incidents” – a wide variety of protests ranging from sit-ins to strikes, marches and rallies, and even genuine riots – indicated that China has seen a sustained, rapid increase in those incidents from 8,700 in 1993 to nearly 60,000 in 2003, to more than 120,000 in 2008 (12). Meanwhile, there are as many as 1 million Family Planning Officials (13). This army of Family Planning Officials can be turned in any direction to crush dissent of any sort. Does the Chinese Communist Party regard this army as necessary to maintain control in a tinder-box situation?
The Chinese Communist Party Will Never Relinquish Coercive Population Control
As fully explained in my Congressional testimony of April 30, 2015, the Chinese Communist Party will never relinquish coercive population control because 1) it enables them to maintain its grip on power through terror – it is social control, masquerading as population control; 2) it is a lucrative profit center, bringing in as much as $314 billion in fines since its inception; 3) it provides and infrastructure of coercion that can be used to crush dissent of any sort; and 4) it ruptures relationships of trust, so that people cannot organize for change. I believe that the Chinese Communist Party is maintaining its grip on power by shedding the blood of the innocent women and babies of China.
Sending out the message that China has “abandoned” its one-child policy is detrimental to sincere efforts to stop forced abortion and gendercide in China, because this message implies that the one-child policy is no longer a problem. In a world laden with compassion fatigue, people are relieved to cross China’s one-child policy off of their list of things to worry about. But we must not do that. Let us not abandon the women of China, who continue to face forced abortion, and the baby girls of China, who continue to face sex-selective abortion and abandonment under the new Two-Child Policy.
The one-child policy does not need to be modified. It needs to be abolished.
We respectfully request that the U.S. government urge the Chinese government to:
*Abolish the Two-Child Policy and all forms of coercive population control;
*Offer incentives for couples to have girls (14);
*Offer pensions to couples who do not have a son, ensuring that parents of girls will not become impoverished in their old age; and
*Abolish the hukou system, so that all children will have access to healthcare and education.
In addition, we respectfully request that the U.S. government:
*Establish principles of Corporate Social Responsibility, to ensure that U.S. corporations do not allow coercive population control measures to be taken against their employees; and
*Defund UNFPA, unless and until UNFPA stops supporting or participating in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China, in violation of the 1985 Kemp-Kasten Amendment.
1 “Why Critics Are Not Satisfied with the End of China’s One-Child Policy.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/10/29/why-critics-are-not-satisfied-with-the-end-of-chinas-one-childpolicy/ 10/29/15; “Still No Dignity for Chinese Women.” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/11/opinion/china-one-child-policy-stillno-dignity-for-chinese-women.html 11/11/15; “Change from One- to Two-Child Policy Won’t End Forced Abortions in China.” http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/human-rights-advocate-change-one-two-child-policy-wont-end-forced-abortions 10/29/15; “Horrors of One-Child Policy Leave Deep Scars in Chinese Society.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/horrors-of-one-child-policy-leave-deep-scars-in-chinesesociety/2015/10/30/6bd28e0c-7e7b-11e5-bfb6-65300a5ff562_story.html 10/30/15
2 “2-Child Policy ‘to fuel growth by 0.5%.’” http://www.chinadailyasia.com/nation/2015-11/10/content_15342620.html 11/1/15; “China Amps Up PR Campaign Extolling ‘Two-Child Policy.’” http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/11/10/china-amps-prcampaign-extolling-two-child-policy/ 11/10/15
3 “China Stresses Two-Child Policy Not Yet Valid.” http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-11/10/c_134802823.htm 11/10/15; No Help for Chinese Mom Expecting Second Child: New Two-Child Policy Won’t Be Enacted in Time to Save Pro-Life Leader Facing Pressure to Abort.” http://www.worldmag.com/2015/10/no_relief_for_chinese_mom_expecting_second_child 10/30/15
4 “China’s Population-Control Machine Churns On.” https://www.freedomhouse.org/blog/china-population-control-machine-churns 1/13/14
5 While shrinking, nearly half of China’s population remains rural, accounting for some 600 million people. World Bank: “Urban Population (% of total).” http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.URB.TOTL.IN.ZS
6 “No Help for Chinese Mom Expecting Second Child: New Two-Child Policy Won’t Be Enacted in Time to Save Pro-Life Leader Facing Pressure to Abort.” http://www.worldmag.com/2015/10/no_relief_for_chinese_mom_expecting_second_child 10/30/15
7 “Experts Worried Pre-Natal Blood Test Might Lead to Sex-Selective Abortions.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11980660/Experts-worried-pre-natal-blood-test-might-lead-to-sex-selective-abortions.html. 11/6/15; “New Method Allows Noninvasive prenatal testing to detect more diseases: Study.” http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-11/10/c_134799694.htm, 11/10/15
8 “Crazed Chinese father-of-four stabs two government officials to death over one child policy.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2376771/Chinese-father-kills-1-child-policy-officials-registering-4th-child.html 7/24/13.
9 “Chinese father of four commits suicide over one-child policy fines so his children can go to school.” http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/chinese-father-of-four-commits-suicide-over-one-child-policy-fines-so-his-c. 5/26/14; “Farmer drinks poison after being fined for violations of family planning policy.” http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/830847.shtml 12/8/13
10 “Plan to Register 13 Million ‘Unofficial’ Chinese Sparks Doubts.” http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/plan-to-register-13- million-unofficial-chinese-sparks-doubts-11252015100418.html 11/25/15
11 “After the One-Child Policy: What Happens to China’s Family-Planning Bureaucracy?” http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2015/11/12/after-the-one-child-policy-what-happens-to-chinas-family-planning-bureaucracy/ 11/12/15
12 “China’s Social Unrest Problem – Testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.” Murray Scott Tanner, Ph.D. http://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/Tanner_Written%20Testimony.pdf. 5/15/14; see also, “Rising Protests in China.” http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2012/02/rising-protests-in-china/100247/. 2/17/12.
13 “Family Planning: Enforcing with a smile.” http://www.economist.com/news/china/21638131-enforcers-chinas-one-child-policyare-trying-new-gentler-approach-enforcing-smile. 1/10/15; “The bureaucracy that oversees family planning in China is enormous. According to official statistics of the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), there are over 500,000 administrative staff and technical service providers from the central government down to the township level devoted to both policy enforcement and family planning generally. In addition, more than 1.2 million cadres assist in birth planning at the village level.” “After the One-Child Policy: What Happens to China’s Family-Planning Bureaucracy?” http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2015/11/12/after-the-one-child-policy-what-happens-to-chinas-family-planning-bureaucracy/ 11/12/15 If China’s Family Planning Officials were an army, they would tie with North Korea as the sixth largest army in the world. “World’s Largest Armies.” http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/armies.htm.
14 We have found in our “Save a Girl” campaign that the encouragement of modest monetary support is enough to make the difference between life and death to a baby girl. “Twin Girls Saved from Abortion in China, Husband’s Family Only Wanted Boys.” http://www.lifenews.com/2014/05/30/twin-girls-saved-from-abortion-in-china-husband-family-told-wife-they-only-wanted-boys/ 5/30/14