The Ordeal of Chinese Mothers Continues: New Evidence of Massive Female Infanticide

June 7, 2000
Volume 2/ Number 10

Dear Friend and Colleague:

Despite reports that China's one-child policy is easing, the most Draconian program to limit births the world has ever known continues apace. As told in A Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's Fight Against China's One-Child Policy (now available from PRI), forced abortion, forced sterilization, and female infanticide continue.

Steven W. Mosher

The Ordeal of Chinese Mothers Continues: New Evidence of Massive Female Infanticide

Twenty years ago, China embarked upon the most Draconian population control program the world has ever known. Everyone was to be limited to one child, conceived at a time of the government's-not the couple's-choosing. This program was carried out by force and the threat of force. Pregnant women were often locked up, subjected to morning-to-night propaganda sessions, and assessed a daily fine until they submited to an abortion.

Recent reports that China is phasing out its one-child policy exaggerate. The one-child-per-couple policy remains very much in force today, with this exemption: Two only children who have reached adulthood and marry will be allowed to have a second child. Over time, increasing numbers of couples will be exempted from the one-child policy that was imposed upon their parents. But this does not mean that the one-child policy itself will be abandoned. Nor does it mean that the violence against women and girls that has characterized that policy from the beginning will cease.

China's strict limits on births have led couples to the most heinous of crimes: the murder of their own infant daughters. G. William Skinner of U.C. Davis and Chinese researcher Yuan Jianhua recently presented statistical evidence that suggests the scale of female infanticide has reached the proportions of an epidemic. Speaking at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies in March, they showed that close to 800,000 baby girls were abandoned or killed in a single region from 1971-80 alone. Given that these numbers represent only one of a dozen regions in China and only one decade out of the past three, the number of little girls missing and presumed dead throughout the length and breadth of China over the past generation must number well over ten million.

Skinner and Yuan are correct in concluding that "the Chinese birth-planning program has caused a major upsurge in infanticide." (San Jose Mercury News, 15 March 2000). I first made the connection between China's population control program and the resurgence of female infanticide back in 1981, using anecdotal evidence from Guangdong province. Following the introduction of the one-child policy, large numbers of little girls began dying in mysterious circumstances shortly after birth in my region of China. The government of China's knee-jerk denials of this widespread tragedy were scarcely credible even then, but I am happy that Skinner and Yuan have now confirmed the fate of these "missing" girls statistically. I mourn for the baby girls who have died - and continue to die - because of the misguided and inhumane notions of China's political leaders.

Several years ago I wrote a book, A Mother's Ordeal, detailing one woman's struggle to have a second child in violation of China's one child policy. I am pleased to announce that we have just reprinted this book. It is must reading for those who wish to understand the scope of the tragedy that the Chinese people have endured for the past twenty years.

A Mother's Ordeal is available through the Population Research Institute for $20, plus $2 for shipping and handling.

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