The policy requires Chinese couples to have a birth permit before having a child, with most being allowed only one child. The enforcement of this policy includes birth quotas, invasive medical examinations for women, and — for those who get pregnant without permission — punishments that include exorbitant fines, destruction of homes and property, arrests, threats to their families and more. For women, it often means forced abortions and sterilizations. In some cases, women and family members have been killed or committed suicide.
Despite media reports over the years that China is moving to allow couples to have more children, Littlejohn testified that the policy itself is the problem. She noted:
The problem with the one-child policy is not the number of children “allowed.” Rather, it is the fact that the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] is telling women how many children they can have and then enforcing that limit through forced abortion and forced sterilization. Even if all couples were allowed two children, there is no guarantee that the CCP will cease their appalling methods of enforcement. 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.
Further, instituting a two-child policy will not end gendercide. 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.” …
Further, Littlejohn stated:
… In my opinion, the Chinese Communist Party will not relinquish coercive population control because 1) it enables them to exert social control through terror; 2) it is a lucrative profit center; 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.
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.
35 Years of the One-Child Policy
On September 25th, 1980, the Chinese government thrust population control upon every person under their sovereignty. Certain provinces in China had already started population control, and the tone for the upcoming decades had been set the year before by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping who said, “Use whatever means you must to reduce the population, but do it!” And in September of 1980, the program known as the One Child Policy began to be enforced throughout all of China. …
… These horrific violations of human rights were (and are) the direct result of the population control policy imposed upon the Chinese people by a tightly controlled political regime. China’s population control policy is not a governmental suggestion about family size; rather, it is an authoritarian mandate that dictates the timing and circumstance of reproduction. Although China recently allowed more couples to receive a second birth permit, the Chinese government still retains tight control over procreation, and human rights continue to be systematically violated en masse.
Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute, who began exposing the brutalities of the one-child policy after studying anthropology in China in 1979, recalled seeing “young women who were pregnant with ‘illegal’ children being incarcerated to await the abortions of their late-term pregnancies,” and “viable infants forcefully removed from inside their mother’s bodies while their mothers wept.”
The Most Violent Policy Against Women and Girls in the World
In 2012, Littlejohn told the audience at a memorial for victims of communism that “the coercive enforcement of China’s one-child policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth and any other official policy in the history of the world.”
In her speech, Littlejohn named six reasons for this:
- Forced abortion is traumatic to women. This can happen up to the ninth month of pregnancy. Some forced abortions are so violent that the women themselves die, along with their full term babies. Forced abortion is official government rape.
- Women who have violated the policy are often victims of forced sterilization, which can lead to life-long health complications. These forced abortions and forced sterilizations are often performed without anesthesia.
- A document leaked out of China in November 2009 discusses methods of infanticide, including the puncturing of the skulls and injecting alcohol into the brains of full term babies, usually girls, to kill them during labor.
- Because of the traditional preference for boys, sex-selective abortion of girls is common — a form of “gendercide.”
- Because of this gendercide, there are an estimated 37 million more men than women in China today. This gender imbalance is a major force driving sexual slavery of women and girls in Asia.
- China has the highest female suicide rate of any country in the world – approximately 500 women a day. I believe this high suicide rate is related to forced abortion.
Funding Forced Abortions
While some may see this as China’s problem alone, the fact is that the United States and other Western countries are involved in this violence against women and girls through their financial support of international population control groups.
One such group is the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Beginning in 2002, UNFPA lost federal funding after investigations said the organization was complicit with the one-child policy. In response, the Canadian government increased their funding of UNFPA, and U.S. funding was later restored by the Obama administration despite warnings that this would mean funding forced abortions.
In 2011, more than 100 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama asking him to cut off funding for UNFPA. The letter read, in part:
By now, it ought to be absolutely clear that UNFPA’s programs in China fully comport with Beijing’s cruelty toward women. Pursuant to the Kemp-Kasten provision, other administrations have appropriately denied all funds to the UNFPA. The one child per couple policy is inhumane and the most egregious systematic attack on women ever. … Swift and decisive action is necessary to correct an emerging pattern of your Administration’s disinterest in the human rights abuses that occur on a daily basis in China. …
Since you took office, $145 million in taxpayer funds ($40 million in FY11) have been allocated for the UNFPA despite their support for, and participation in, China’s brutal policy. That complicity must end.
Not only does the U.S. continue to fund UNFPA, but in 2014 the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report upgraded China from a “Tier 3″ nation which could be subject to sanctions to a better “Tier 2″ nation ranking.
In a 2014 open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Littlejohn noted in that 2013, the State Department criticized the Chinese government for failing to take measures to prevent trafficking and to “address the effects its birth limitation policy had in creating a gender imbalance and fueling trafficking, particularly through bride trafficking and forced marriage.”
In fact, the State Department found that “the government continued to perpetuate human trafficking in at least 320 state-run institutions, while helping victims of human trafficking in only seven.”
Reggie Littlejohn’s Speech at the Victims of Communism Memorial Commemoration
Open Letter to President Xi Jinping
Forced Abortions in China: Crimes Against Humanity
Time to End Forced Abortion in China
Michelle Obama Needs to Defend Chinese Women
Promoting Abortion Will Increase, Not End, Violence Against Women
Man Killed by Family Planning Officials in China, Rights Group Reports