GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, JUNE 27, 2019. Women’s Rights Without Frontiers co-hosted a Panel at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, together with the Women’s United Nations Reporting Network. WRWF President, Reggie Littlejohn, stated, “It was a great honor, and indeed a minor miracle, to co-host this landmark Panel, highly critical of the Chinese government’s record on women’s rights. China sits on the Human Rights Council in Geneva and has veto power. I don’t know how our Panel seemed to slip through the cracks!” The venue was packed, indicating the high level of interest in hearing the truth regarding the abuses against the rights of women and girls perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party. Littlejohn’s remarks focused on several ways in which the Chinese government has violated the Beijing Platform for Action, whose 25th anniversary will arrive in 2020. Specifically, Littlejohn focuses on the continuation of the sex-selective abortion of baby girls and forced abortion under the Two-Child Policy, as well as the unimaginable suffering of abandoned, elderly widows in the Chinese countryside. Her full Address can be found below.
Abandoned in China: Baby Girls and Widows
Address by Reggie Littlejohn, President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers
United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva
Palais des Nations, June 25, 2019
Honorable Dignitaries, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honor to address you concerning one of the greatest women’s rights issues of our day: the abandonment of baby girls and elderly widows in China – unintended consequences of China’s One Child Policy.
Next year will mark the 25-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted in 1995 at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women. Since this Platform was adopted in Beijing, the Chinese government should have been a world leader in the advancement of women’s rights articulated in that document. Instead, Beijing itself has been the most aggressive violator of the Platform that bears its name. The Chinese government needs to be held accountable for its massive violations of the rights of women and girls, from the day the Beijing Platform was adopted until today. The Beijing Platform at Paragraph 115 states unequivocally:
115. Acts of violence against women also include forced sterilization and forced abortion, coercive/forced use of contraceptives, female infanticide and prenatal sex selection.
Rather than fighting against these practices, the Chinese Communist Party has systematically implemented them. In so doing, it has committed violence against women in unprecedented proportions.
The Beijing Platform states that “discrimination and violence against girls begin at the earliest stages of life and continue unabated throughout their lives” and characterizes prenatal sex selection is an act of violence against women. This violence begins with the termination of girl children, followed by a gender imbalance where, in China for example, there are an estimated 37 million more men than women. This imbalance is the driving force behind human trafficking and sexual slavery, not only within China but from the surrounding countries, and from as far away as Africa and the Americas.
There are an estimated 200 million women and girls missing in the world today, because of sex-selective abortion, abandonment and fatal neglect. That number, 200 million, is greater than all the casualties of all the wars in the 20th Century. This is the true War Against Women.
Gendercide continues under China’s Two-Child Policy. Because of violent son-preference, second daughters are especially vulnerable.
For example, after the institution of the Two-Child Policy, a woman from Anhui Province was forced by her husband to abort four baby girls. The couple already had a daughter, and when China shifted from a One Child to a Two Child Policy in January 2016, the husband decided that they should have a second child, and that their second child must be a boy. In July 2017, the woman died after these four abortions in quick succession, trying for a son.
It is this problem of violent son-preference that we have sought to through our “Save a Girl” Campaign, which has saved hundreds of baby girls from sex-selective abortion, abandonment or extreme poverty in rural China. We are the only organization in the world that has boots on the ground in rural China, going to the doors of women, offering them words of encouragement and financial support to empower them to keep their daughters, instead of being pressured to abort or abandon them.
We recently released a video about our “Save a Girl” Campaign. It really brings to life the struggles of women in the Chinese countryside to resist pressure to abort or abandon their daughters, and how Women’s Rights Without Frontiers is providing them with a lifeline.
Gendercide in China; “Save a Girl” video (7 mins)
In China, there are an estimated 37 million more men living than women. This extreme gender imbalance is driving human trafficking and sexual slavery, within China, from the surrounding countries, and from as far away as Africa and the Americas.
Senior Suicide and Abandoned Widows
Another unintended consequence of the One-Child (now Two-Child) Policy is its impact on the elderly.
The One-Child Policy has decimated Chinese family structure. In rural China, couples would have large families and elders were venerated, so when a couple got old, their extended family would care for them. Now, with no extended family to take care of them and no means to support themselves, many elderly in the Chinese countryside are left destitute. China’s senior suicide rate has skyrocked 500 percent in the past 20 years. Elderly rural women are particularly vulnerable. 590 women per day end their lives in China. In the Chinese countryside, three times the number of women as men end their lives.
Our unique network inside China is able to reach these elderly widows. We go to their doors, offer them encouragement and much-needed financial support, through our “Save a Widow” Campaign.
“Save a Widow” in China (7 mins)
We have been saving girls in China for years. Only recently have we begun to save widows. We have found that many people want to support our campaign to save girls, and relatively few our campaign to save widows. Why?
Some of our widows can hardly walk, some have failing vision. They can barely take care of themselves, much less anyone else. Their long lives of laboring for their families are over, and now many are abandoned by those for whom they sacrificed so deeply.
I believe this is the measure of whether we, the international human rights community, have a true commitment to the dignity of every person. Will we commit precious resources to those whose destiny will not be economic productivity, but death? Will we sacrifice to help someone whose life has been unimaginably hard, so that when she passes on, at least she will do so knowing that someone, somewhere cares enough about her to make sure she will not die of starvation or suicide?
Another way that China has violated the Beijing Platform is in the area of forced abortion. Since its inception in 1980, China has boasted that it has prevented 400 million lives through its infamous One Child Policy. Hundreds of millions were prevented through forced abortion, forced sterilization and infanticide. Some of these forced abortions were committed up to the ninth month of pregnancy. Women died because of the violence of late term forced abortions.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has taken a leading role in exposing the atrocity of forced abortion in China and demanding its end.
Stop Forced Abortion – China’s War on Women! Video (4 mins) [WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGE]
The two-child policy took effect on January 1, 2016. Since that time, reports have emerged of continued forced abortion. It has not stopped this slaughter. The new rule is that every couple is allowed to have two children. Therefore, it is still illegal for single women to have babies in China, and third children are still illegal.
In November 2018, NPR reported the forced abortion of the third child of an ethnic Kazakh woman. She had married and moved to Kazakhstan. When she crossed the border into China, to cancel her Chinese citizenship, authorities learned that she was pregnant with her third child and forced her to abort it.
China watchers have stated that China will soon “abandon” the two-child policy, instituting a three-child policy, or perhaps allowing all couples to have as many children as they want. Watch the language. Will it say all couples, or all people? If the new law is only for couples, will single women still be forcibly aborted?
China’s One Child Policy is the largest and most disastrous social experiment in the history of the world. Through it, the Chinese Communist Party boasts that it has“prevented” 400 million births. This is the hallmark of Communist regimes – the peacetime killing of their own citizens. Now China faces demographic disaster. Ironically, the Chinese Communist Party instituted the One Child Policy for economic reasons, but through it, it has written its own economic death sentence.
With a population of almost 1.4 billion, one fifth of the population of the world lives in China. One out of every five women lives in China. The women of the world will not be free until the women of China are free!
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
They Ordered Me to Get an Abortion – A Chinese Women’s Ordeal in Xinjiang
Chinese Woman Dies After Four Abortions in a Year Trying for a Boy