ONE CHILD CHINA
January 3rd 2016 – Sunday Times colour supplement: Extracts from Mei Fong’s book “One Child: the story of China’s Most Radical Experiment” (2016)
One Child China – Part Aldous Huxley, part King Herod. Later, Longer, Fewer became, in the vocabulary of loss, “bare branches” and the children “little emperors.”
China may be the first big country to grow old before it gets rich.
China’s population will be too male, too old and too few for continued prosperity.
There are now 13 million undocumented “non existent” children – second children born without the Communist State’s permission.
In little less than a decade there will be more Chinese bachelors than Saudi Arabians on the planet. By 2050 one in three people in China will be retired. If they formed their own country it would be the third largest in the world – behind only India and China itself.
Shidu is a term for parents who have lost their only child. Each year 76,000 join the 1 million shidu parents. With no progeny, shidu parents have problems getting into nursing homes or buying burial plots. When they do get into a hospice they often die alone.
A coercive Two Child China (see below) may prove to be little better than a One Child China policy because citizens have been driven to value materialism more than the family and child rearing in China has become a nightmare.
Melamine-tainted milk powder, lead in toys, lung searing pollution and a four fold increase in infertility are all conspiring against bringing children into the world.
Mei Fong “One Child: the story of China’s Most Radical Experiment” (2016).
David Alton reflects on China’s decision to scrap the one child policy only to announce a two child policy…
During the UK visit of China’s President, Xi Jinping, in Parliament I raised the cases of 280 human rights lawyers who, since July 9th, have disappeared or been detained in China– many of them arrested after contesting the illegal destruction of churches or persecution of Christians. And, I asked, yet again – as I have done since 1980 – about China’s coercive one child policy and referred to Chen Guangchen, the barefoot, blind human rights lawyer. In 2006 Chen was imprisoned for four years after exposing and leading protests against the coercive one-child policy. It’s a policy which has marked China as the world’s only country where it has been illegal to have a brother or a sister.
In 2013, Chen came to Westminster as my guest and received a human rights award and, last month, while President Xi was in London Chen was here, too – taking part in peaceful demonstrations.
This extraordinary, and deeply patriotic man, who has no sight, has seen so clearly what his country’s leaders have been blind to: not only was their policy an outrageous violation of human rights but it has had a disastrous demographic effect. The cruel enforcement of the policy has had one other consequence: in opening the eyes of millions to the nature of the system it will prove to be its undoing.
The extent of the disaster began to seep out from behind the closed doors when, in 2013, an internal Communist Party document exposed the scale of this pernicious policy: over 40 years some 330m abortions, 196m sterilisations and 403m intrauterine devices inserted into women, often without their consent, had led to a massive imbalance between young men and women. This relentless targeting of girls babies became known as gendercide – indirectly funded by British taxpayers under successive British Governments. Challenge it and you were denounced.
During the 1990s, at one memorable meeting with a Minister in charge of International Development, the air was literally blue with undeleted expletives and four letter words, as I was accused of undermining development policies which I was told relied on population control. During the meeting I had raised the case of Gao Xiao Duan, a former Chinese family planning official, who in 1998, described to a U.S. Congressional Committee the horror of forced abortions of women, how babies had been murdered during delivery and new-borns drowned in paddy fields by officials.
After this intemperate Ministerial harangue, and during a subsequent visit to Beijing – I met with Communist Party officials. The contrast with our own officials and Minister could not have been greater. Of course, the difference was that many of these officials had suffered too. Hardly anyone in China has been unaffected.
In private some of those Chinese officials quietly encouraged me to go on opposing the one-child policy. I told them that one day Chen Guangchen would be seen as a national hero. Chen’s brave stand had opened minds and given courage to those whom Chesterton, in another context, once described as “the secret people”.
As Chinese micro-bloggers took up Chen’s case and publically questioned the policy, the bloggers began to ask deeper questions, too. They were joined by brave lawyers, increasingly asking why a totalitarian political system be allowed to crush the spirit of a truly great people. The one child policy was seen as being the perfect image of a one party system.
In the absence of a free press, the bloggers – one of whom told me he had five million followers – have opened minds. By shining a light on horrifying stories, like that of a women who was coercively aborted, and whose seven month unborn baby was then left by her side on her bed, as a warning not to become pregnant again, millions, they have fundamentally questioned the nature of a one party Communist state.
Now, belatedly the Party has recognised that a policy which was justified on economic grounds – and aided and abetted by the West – has turned out to be an economic disaster. In a child-poor country there simply won’t be the children to support those who have retired. The Chinese have a saying that the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The same applies to babies and the people those babies grow up to be.
The policy has also distorted the population balance. There are now 40 million more Chinese men than women, while, globally, the sex-selection abortion of little girls had led to between 100 million and 200 million females now missing in the world – with catastrophic social consequences.
After his return to Beijing from London, President Xi’s Government said it will now relax the ‘One Couple, One Child’ policy. On the face of it this may seem welcome but note that the word is “relax” not “end.” China will now impose a ‘Two Child’ policy.
Chinese women will still need to obtain a birth permit for the first and second child, and only within marriage. Those violating these strictures may still be dragged from their homes, strapped to tables, and their babies forcibly aborted. Even with a two-child policy, women will still be subject to forced abortion if they get pregnant without a birth permit.
A two-child policy will not end the human rights abuses caused by the one child policy: forced abortion, involuntary sterilization or the sex-selective abortion of baby girls. Be clear, State-coercion and State-control remain at the heart of the policy.
It’s a policy which doesn’t need to be relaxed or modified. It needs to be done away with.
For the future, the key question for China is not the number of children which a family may have but the principle of State interference in the intimate life of a family and the coercion which the State uses to enforce limits.
In London President Xi talked of “the Chinese dream” but while the Communist Party exercises ruthless control over its citizens, imprisons lawyers, crushes free speech, closes or demolishes churches, arrests bishops, or forcibly aborts women, the dream will continue to be the stuff of nightmares.
The following press release was issued this week by two major charitable organisations that work for women and their unborn children, Right To Life and LIFE – marking the 48th anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act.
Right to Life and LIFE have launched the Amnesty Travesty campaign to highlight the toll that abortion has had on Great Britain and they urge Amnesty International to withdraw their campaign to remove the protection of the right to life of the unborn child from the Irish Constitution. Amnesty’s wonderful founder, Peter Benenson, would have been truly shocked to see the life saving work undertaken by Amnesty diverted into the taking of innocent life. Amnesty should
- Speak-up for the over-8 million who have died in the UK from abortion.
- Respect and affirm the choice of the people of Northern Ireland to safeguard babies in the womb from abortion.
- Withdraw their campaign to remove the right to life of the unborn child from Ireland’s constitution.
Full details on the campaign are available from the website www.shamnesty.org
PRESS RELEASE – 23/10/2015
On the 48th anniversary of the Abortion Act 1967
LIFE and Right To Life call for Ireland and Northern Ireland to resist abortion
The national charities LIFE and Right To Life are marking the 48th anniversary of the Abortion Act by calling attention to the 8 million lives lost since 1967, and urging lawmakers in Ireland and Northern Ireland not to compromise their laws and society by bowing to the pressure of the abortion industry and its lobbyists.
We sound a warning of the consequences of such a compromise, following the launch of an expensive campaign by Amnesty International that uses celebrities to attempt to convince Ireland and Northern Ireland to abolish their legal and constitutional protections for unborn children.
Millions of unborn lives have been lost and thousands of women have been psychologically harmed in Great Britain because of the 1967 Act. It paved the way for the emergence of a multi-million pound industry costing the taxpayer over £100 million a year. Since its inception, abortion providers have consistently misinterpreted, abused and broken the law with impunity. The safeguards built into the law have been rendered ineffective, with the CPS refusing to prosecute doctors in some cases.
Those who voted for the Abortion Act could never have envisaged a day when abortions would be performed at the rate of one every three minutes, when nine out of ten babies with Down’s Syndrome would be aborted, when babies would be terminated because they were the ‘wrong’ gender, and when the bodies of aborted babies would be burnt to heat hospitals. This is certainly not a situation that we should want Ireland or indeed any other country to move towards.
Amnesty International, which was born out of the conviction that the human rights of the oppressed and vulnerable should be vocally supported by those who believed in the dignity of all human beings, now perversely campaigns for a human right to end human lives. Specifically the most vulnerable of all: unborn children. Where nations have chosen to resist abortion, Amnesty is spending significant sums of charity funds to pressure them to ensure the platform exists for the termination of babies in the womb. It is ironic that an organisation which in 1977 received the Nobel Peace Prize for its lifesaving work would today be championing ending the very lives that most need the humane advocacy it is meant to provide.
All people of good will, who wish to call Amnesty back to the humane founding principles of their organisation under the late Peter Benenson, can visit the new website of our Amnesty Travesty campaign – www.shamnesty.org – and sign the open letter calling on them to stop pressuring countries into accepting the inhumanity of abortion.
As friends from across the Irish sea, we call on the people and lawmakers of Ireland and Northern Ireland to avoid the tragedy that Great Britain’s abortion laws have engendered, and stand firm against the pressure by Amnesty and similar organisations to compromise their legal safeguards for the most vulnerable of their fellow citizens. In doing so they will protect women, prevent the horrific loss of life experienced in the United Kingdom since 1967, and affirm the dignity and right to life of all members of the human family.
For further media comment please call the LIFE Media Hotline on 07867 744502 and Right To Life on 01732 460911.