December 12, 2001
- UNFPA County Program in Sihui
- The UNFPA Office Desk
- Interviews in Government Facility
- Interviews in Residential Areas
- Interviewing Methods
- Jackhammer Campaign
- Congressional Testimony
- UNFPA Operations in Jianou County, Fujian Province, and in Kuerle County, Xinjiang Province
- Note on UNFPA’s Reaction
- UNFPA Supports Coercion
- Congressional testimonies:
- Testimony of Steve Mosher, President of Population Research Institute
- Testimony of Josephine Guy, PRI’s lead investigator
- Testimony of Harry Wu, Executive Director of Laogai Research Foundation
- Testimony of Yemlibike Fatkulin on Coercive Chinese Birth Control Policy on Uyghurs in East Turkestan (Xiangiang)
- Congressional statements:
- Congressional testimonies:
Population Research Institute (PRI) sent an independent investigative team to China on September 27, 2001. The investigative team consisted of Ms. Josephine Guy, a paralegal with a background in security affairs, two translators and one photographer/videographer. Additional assistance was provided by two associate researchers based in China.
PRI’s investigative team spent a total of four days in China. During this period, the investigative team interviewed family planning workers and spent over 10 hours interviewing more than two dozen victims or witnesses of coercion in Sihui County. Over four hours of testimonies were recorded on audiotape, and approximately 30 minutes of testimonies were recorded on videotape.
Interviews with victims were also recorded in notebooks, in both Chinese and English, and additional photographic evidence was obtained. Victims and witnesses of coercion were interviewed privately, not in the presence of officials, to ensure those interviewed were able to speak about their own experiences with the one-child policy without fear of reprisals.
The investigative team also located the Chinese office of family planning in Sihui county, Guangdong Province, and spoke with local family planning officials. Local officials provided information about UNFPA’s county program, including the location of the office desk of UNFPA’s worker for the Sihui county program.
PRI’s lead investigator returned to the US in early October with the audiotaped and videotaped testimony, and all other information obtained by the investigative team during its investigation.
Doing field research in the People’s Republic of China presents challenges. The government is hostile to investigators who do not take the nature of its policies on face value, and punishes its domestic critics with extreme severity. PRI’s investigative team, therefore, took precautions to protect those who testified.
In addition, the names of the translators, the photographer, and China-based personnel of the investigative team have been withheld to prevent retribution by the government of the People’s Republic of China.
Moreover, PRI sought no assistance from the government of the People’s Republic of China to carry out its investigation, and received none. Had such assistance been sought, it is likely that the PRC government would have either obstructed PRI’s investigation by denying visas to the members of our investigative team, or attempted to influence the investigation and the testimonies provided by the victims and witnesses of coercion.
UNFPA County Program in Sihui
The goal of PRI’s independent investigative team was to carry out an in-depth analysis of a UNFPA county program.
UNFPA has stated on the record that it operates family planning programs in 32 counties in China. In these programs, UNFPA states, family planning is “fully voluntary” and that there is no coercion. UNFPA also states that in these counties, targets and quotas have been lifted, “women are free to voluntarily select the timing and spacing of their pregnancies”, and abortion is not promoted as a method of family planning. (See: “UNFPA’s County Program in China: Providing Quality Care, Protecting Human Rights,” UNFPA, August 10, 2001.)
PRI obtained first-hand evidence which calls into question the accuracy of UNFPA’s claims.
The county program selected for investigation was in Sihui county, in Guangdong Province in Southern China, approximately 100 miles northwest of Hong Kong.
While this report focuses on the findings of PRI’s investigative team in Sihui county, PRI researchers were also told of the existence of coercion in two other UNFPA county programs.
In Sihui county, during phone conversations and discussions in person with local officials, members of PRI’s independent investigative team were provided with information about:
- The geographical extent of Sihui county.
- The location of the Chinese Office of Family Planning.
- The location of the office desk of the UNFPA family planning representative for Sihui county.
PRI investigators were told by county officials that UNFPA’s county program in Sihui operates in support of the Chinese family planning program.
The investigative team was told by officials that UNFPA’s representative in Sihui and Chinese family planning officials work from the same office, the Sihui County Office of Family Planning.
PRI investigators spoke to Chinese officials in this office, and inquired about UNFPA. PRI investigators were shown by these officials the UNFPA desk. Photographic evidence of the UNFPA office desk within this office was obtained by PRI’s photographer. Local officials told PRI investigators that there is no distinction between UNFPA’s program in Sihui and the Chinese family planning program in Sihui. PRI investigators visited this office on three occasions. On two of these occasions, officials pointed to the UNFPA desk, and also said that the UNFPA representative was at the local hospital. On the third occasion, additional photographic evidence was obtained.
Officials also informed PRI investigators of the borders of Sihui. All interviews referred to in this report were conducted within the borders of Sihui county; namely, within the area that the Sihui office of family planning, and the UNFPA family planning representative, operates.
The investigative team received testimony from over two dozen victims and witnesses of coercion within Sihui, all within a few miles of the UNFPA office desk. Interviews were conducted in a government medical facility, and in four different residential areas. By many victims and witnesses of coercion, PRI investigators were told that:
- There is no voluntary family planning in Sihui.
- Coercive family planning policies in Sihui include: age requirements for pregnancy; birth permits; mandatory use of IUDs; mandatory sterilization; crippling fines for non-compliance; imprisonment for non-compliance; destruction of homes and property for non-compliance; forced abortion and forced sterilization.
Witnesses and victims said that population control is implemented by force of the state, rather than, as the UNFPA claims, through “a client-oriented approach”.
The UNFPA Office Desk
On September 26, 2001, one of PRI’s translators placed calls to the Sihui county government building. PRI’s translator was given the room number of the Office of Family Planning by a local official. PRI’s translator, on September 26, went to that office and spoke with family planning officials. A family planning worker, in the Sihui County Office of Family Planning, pointed to an office desk. Two family planning workers in this office told PRI’s translator that “this is the desk” of the UNFPA worker.
On September 27, the investigative team entered the Sihui County Government Building and spoke again with local officials, who again gave the location of the office desk of the UNFPA officer within the Sihui County Family Planning Office. Photographic evidence of the office, its occupants, and its signage was obtained on this and the following day.
The sign outside the door of the office says: Family Planning Office, Room 1. The offices — a single large room — house six family planning workers. One is described as the UNFPA representative. The UNFPA representative’s desk faces, in fact touches, the desk of a Chinese family planning worker.
Interviews in Government Facility
On September 28, the investigative team visited a government medical facility located within a mile of the Sihui County Family Planning Office and within the borders of Sihui county. The team interviewed one doctor, and four women who said that voluntarism does not exist within the county’s family planning program. The team met a woman who was at the facility to receive a non-voluntary abortion. She was accompanied by three friends, all of whom said that Chinese law mandates abortions for women pregnant without government permission. They asserted that their friend wanted to continue her pregnancy, but the law forbids it.
Interviews in Residential Areas
On September 27, 28 and 29, the investigative team visited four residential areas, all within a few miles of the Sihui County Family Planning Office and within the borders of Sihui county. In interview after interview, local men and women said that, in Sihui county’s family planning program:
- Coercion is as bad today as it has ever been.
- Forced abortions, forced sterilization, and forced use of Depro Provera, IUDs and other forms of birth control are routine.
- The punishment for noncompliance includes crippling fines, destruction of homes, and imprisonment of women and their relatives.
- Voluntary family planning is non-existent.
The interviews were conducted in open-air settings, as well as in peoples’ homes. As formal interviews were being conducted and recorded, bystanders often gathered and began to tell their own stories of coercion. No one disputed that the county’s family planning programs were coercive. Several of those interviewed spoke of the routine destruction of homes for attempting unauthorized births.
Propaganda slogans promoting the necessity and the benefits of family planning were posted throughout the four residential areas. None of the slogans mentioned that coercion has been eliminated and quotas and targets had been lifted, as the UNFPA claims, in Sihui county.
On September 29, the investigative team visited what locals called a “model family planning village” within this UNFPA “model county.” Two residents of this village said in interviews that local family planning workers receive benefits and promotions based on their compliance with targets and quotas.
These same residents also said that, within the “model family planning village,” family planning policy was enforced using the same non-voluntary measures that were found elsewhere.
While conducting interviews, the investigation team did not attempt to administer a survey instrument, but asked open questions about the interviewee, their family, and their experiences with the family planning program.
In the words of Ms. Josephine Guy, PRI’s lead investigator: “We struck up casual conversations, and asked people if they would talk to us about family life. People were friendly and pleased to have visitors from outside of China. As the conversation began in earnest, more and more people would invariably gather around, curious to discover the reason for our visit. Many times they would chime into the conversation. At times it was difficult to carry on conversations, so many people were talking at once. Everyone was eager to talk and answer our many questions. After a few minutes, we would begin to ask pointed questions about family planning policies and their own personal experience. I was initially worried that they might be bothered by the subject matter and hesitate to answer. To my surprise, they continued with enthusiasm.”
Several women testified that the penalty for noncompliance with an order to abort an unauthorized pregnancy, or to undergo sterilization after the birth of a second child, was the destruction of one’s home. One woman told PRI investigators of a woman nearby, who was recently forced to leave her home to protect her pregnancy against forced abortion. As this woman spoke, she became very emotional and began to hide her tears.
In another residential area, we spoke with a man who was working in his garden. He turned out to be the father-in-law of a woman who had been ordered to have an abortion but had instead gone into hiding. He was angry at local officials because his home and two others had been recently destroyed by Sihui family planning workers as punishment for his daughter-in-law’s refusal to submit to an abortion as required by the law.
Nine of this woman’s family members had been imprisoned and they had been forced to pay fines to win their release. Their neighbors had loaned them the funds they needed to pay the fines.
This man took PRI’s investigative team to interview his daughter-in-law. She told PRI investigators of the punishments she and her family had experienced. She showed us the areas of her house that had been destroyed. Before leaving, PRI investigators were able to meet her baby boy, who was thirteen months old.
She told us of the additional fines that must be paid if her son is to be eligible for medical care, schooling or employment in the future. At present, she described her little boy as a “black child,” that is, an unregistered and illegal person, who does not exist in the eyes of the state. Many of those we interviewed told us of the problems experienced by “black children,” who are punished for being born without a permit.
At an Oct. 17 congressional hearing, the lead investigator of PRI’s independent investigative team showcased the following testimonies recorded on audio- and videotape in China. These testimonies are a sample of the interviews carried out in China. All interviews took place within a few miles of the UNFPA office desk and within the borders of Sihui county:
Questioner: “If you violate the population control regulations by having too many children, what happens to you?”
Woman: “When I had my children, things were not as strict. Right now, things are very, very strict.”
Questioner: “What happens to you if you give birth to another child?”
Woman: “You want to have another child! You think it’s that easy to give birth!”
Questioner: “Would someone come to your house and take you in by force in for an abortion?”
Woman: “Yes. But they don’t need to use force. They simply require you to go.”
Questioner: “And if you don’t go?”
Woman (astonished): “They require you to go and you don’t go?”
Questioner: “What if you say you don’t want to go?”
Woman: “What reason could you give [for resisting.] Giving birth to an extra child is difficult, very, very difficult to have a child.”
Questioner: “But you yourself had three children. How did this happen?”
Woman: “First I had two. Then seven years later I had another baby boy. They had already tied my tubes and I had another boy.”
Questioner: “After you had an operation? After they tied your tubes? How did they know you had a baby?”
Woman: “They found out. Someone told them.”
Questioner: “Then the family planning workers came to your house. Did a whole troop of them come?”
Woman: “A lot of them came. Many, many people.”
Questioner: “What if you hid?”
Woman: “That wouldn’t work. They would tear down my house.” (Points at the ceiling). “They would wreck it.”
Narrator: So she was sterilized a second time, at the government’s insistence, and there have been no more children.
(Photo of woman, with child, interviewed September 2001, a short distance from UNFPA office, in county where UNFPA operates and claims coercion does not exist. This interview was recorded on audio tape.)
Narrator: This woman was pregnant with her second child, and the authorities wanted her to abort…
Woman: “I was four-and-a-half months pregnant. They wanted me to report to the hospital for an abortion but I refused to go. I went into hiding in my mother’s village. Then my brother, my older sister, and my younger sister were all arrested. I had no choice but to go somewhere else to hide. They arrested three people in my mother’s family but didn’t destroy any homes. They arrested six people in my mother-in-law’s family and destroyed three homes.”
(Photo of man and damaged home, interviewed September 29, a short distance from UNFPA office, in county where UNFPA operates and claims coercion does not exist. This interview was recorded on audiotape.)
Narrator: When they couldn’t find the woman, they attacked her home—and the homes of her relatives—with jackhammers. Her father-in-law describes the damage.
Man: “Look at this. All of the doors and windows destroyed. Here’s a big hole that they knocked in the wall. It took forty bags of cement to repair the holes.”
(Photo of women in waiting room, taken a short distance from UNFPA office. PRI investigators spoke with several women in this photo who confirmed that forced abortion exists in this county where UNFPA operates.)
Narrator: Here in a hospital waiting room, a pregnant woman waits for an abortion. Too young at 19 years of age to get married—the minimum age is 23—she has been ordered to report for an abortion. As she disappears into the operating room, we ask her three friends here with her: “Would she like to keep her baby?” “Oh, yes,” they all replied, “But the law forbids it.”
UNFPA Operations in Jianou County, Fujian Province, and in Kuerle County, Xinjiang Province
PRI researchers also obtained information about two other UNFPA county programs, the first in Jianou county, Fujian Province, and the second in Kuerle county, Xinjiang Autonomous Region.
We were told that the population control regulations of Fujian Province, which are enforced without exception in all counties, call for:
- Mandatory use of IUDs.
- Mandatory quarterly exams.
- Fines of 50 yuan per day, and 2,000 yuan per month imposed for non-compliance with mandatory examinations.
- Forced sterilization after six months of non-compliance with exam.
- Mandatory registration of child within one month after birth of child, punishable with forced sterilization for non-compliance.
- Forced abortion, forced sterilization and 10,000 yuan fine for pregnancy before age 20.
In Xinjiang Province, particularly in rural areas like Kuerle county (Korla in the local Uighur language), local family planning officials frequently resort to brute force. Kuerle (Korla) county is the location of UNFPA’s Xinjiang county program. Abuses include:
- Forced abortion.
- Forced sterilization.
- Forced abortion and forced sterilization under imprisonment.
Note on UNFPA’s Reaction
The UNFPA responded to PRI’s investigation by organizing an in-house delegation of UNFPA employees and associates to visit China. The eight-page “Mission Report” issued by UNFPA describes the details of their 22-26 October visit to Beijing, Guangzhou, Sihui county, and Qianjiang City, Hubei Province. Of the five days spent in China, half was spent in Beijing, in meetings, banquets and barbecues with Chinese officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Family Planning Commission.
During half-day visits to Sihui and Qianjiang, the delegation was accompanied by Chinese officials from the national, provincial, prefectural, municipal, and county governments. They went on guided tours of several family planning clinics, and spent only 30 minutes on “household visits,” which were again conducted in the presence of Chinese officials. In the absence of unsupervised contact with ordinary Chinese, it is unlikely that UNFPA could accurately assess the state of the one-child policy in Sihui county or anywhere else in China.
The UNFPA’s “Mission Report” presents no credible evidence, based on interviews with ordinary Chinese, to support its claim that voluntarism exists in its county program in Sihui, or anywhere else in China. Its “Mission Report” simply repeats assertions made by Chinese officials that coercion has been eliminated and targets and quotas have been lifted in Sihui county. The Chinese officials who make these assertions are not unbiased observers, but interested parties, who have every reason to put the best face on the family planning programs that they supervise, especially when these are called into question.
UNFPA Supports Coercion
PRI’s investigation in China shows that UNFPA supports China’s family planning policy. UNFPA’s support consists of public praise for, and misinformation about, China’s coercive family planning policy. UNFPA also directly supports coercive family planning with funding, and through its complicity with the implementation of policies which are fundamentally coercive in principle and practice.
Steven W. Mosher
Population Research Institute
Wednesday, October 17, 2001
China’s One-Child Policy: Coercive from the Beginning
Testimony Submitted to the International Relations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives for the Hearing on “Coercive Population Control in China: New Evidence of Forced Abortion and Forced Sterilization,”
I have been a student of China one-child policy since the late 1970s, when I became the first American social scientist to conduct a full-length study of a Chinese village. From 1979 to 1980, I lived in rural Guangdong. At the beginning of 1980, the Guangdong provincial government secretly ordered a 1 percent cap on population growth for the year. Local officials had complied the only way they could-by launching a family planning “high tide” soon thereafter to terminate as many pregnancies as possible.
The rules governing this high tide were simple: No woman was to be allowed to bear a second child within four years of her first, and third children were strictly forbidden. Furthermore, all women who had borne three or more children by November 1, 1979, were to be sterilized.
Over the next few weeks I became an eyewitness to every aspect of this draconian campaign. I went with young women to family planning “study sessions” and saw them harangued and threatened by senior Party officials. I followed them as they were taken under escort to the commune clinic and watched-with the permission of local officials who were eager to demonstrate their prowess in birth control to a visiting foreigner-as they were aborted and sterilized.
During the intervening years I have made periodic trips into China to assess family planning policies, have commissioned others to undertake such investigations, and have closely followed both official Chinese pronouncements and reports appearing in the specialized literature and the popular press.
History of One-Child Policy
The demands of China’s family planners escalated as the eighties unfolded. The one-child policy, first adumbrated by Deng Xiaoping in a 1979 speech, was in place nationwide by 1981. The “technical policy on family planning” followed two years later. Still in force today, the technical policy requires IUDs for women of childbearing age with one child, sterilization for couples with two children (usually performed on the woman), and abortions for women pregnant without authorization. By the mid-eighties, according to Chinese government statistics, birth control surgeries-abortions, sterilizations, and IUD insertions-were averaging more than thirty million a year. Many, if not most, of these procedures were performed on women who submitted only under duress.
The principal modification of the one-child policy occurred in the mid-eighties when, in response to rising levels of female infanticide, the government relaxed the policy in the countryside for couples whose first child was a girl. In many parts of China this has devolved into a de facto two-child policy, as rural officials found the selective enforcement of a mixed policy-one child for couples whose first child was a boy, two children for couples whose first child was a girl- difficult to manage.
Twenty-two years after my initial field research in China, where do we stand?
Today, the Chinese family planning program continues to be carried out against the popular will by means of a variety of coercive measures. Despite official denials and intermittent efforts to discourage some of the more blatant manifestations of physical, that is, bodily, coercion, coercion continues to be, as it has been from the late 1970s, an integral part of the program. Mandatory IUD insertions, sterilizations, and abortions continue. The national family planning journal continues to issue thinly disguised injunctions to get the job done by whatever means necessary. The emphasis continues to be on “real action,” “effective measures,” and “practical results.”
Articles in the Chinese media openly speak of the need for coercion in family planning, and senior officials continue to endorse the policy as currently practiced. Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji, for instance, said on October 13, 1999, that “China will continue to enforce its effective family planning policy in the new century in order to create a favorable environment for further development.” (italics added.) And in its White Paper on Population, released on December 19, 200o, the PRC avows it will continue the one-child policy for another fifty years. The White Paper actually sets a population target of 1.6 billion people by the year 2050.
The Chinese government, as it has for the past two decades, sought to suggest that these targets and quotas will be achieved by “education” and “persuasion.” As an example of the effectiveness of “education” and “persuasion,” the White Paper offered the information that women were putting off their first child until age 23.6 by 1998, while in 1970 they gave birth at 20.8 years. But this is disingenuous. The age at first birth has climbed in the People’s Republic
of China not because of “education” and “persuasion,” but because women are forbidden to marry until 23, and aborted if they become pregnant out of wedlock.
The Chinese government also maintains that local abuses-such as the abortion campaign recently ordered in the Guangdong county of Huaiji—as aberrations. But the Chinese program remains highly coercive not because of local deviations from central policies but as a direct, inevitable, and intentional consequence of those polices.
United Nations Population Fund Involvement
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has supported the one-child policy in China from 1979. Currently, under a program begun in 1998, it operates family planning programs in 32 counties, or county-level municipalities, throughout China. The UNFPA claims that in the counties where it is active (1) reproductive health programs are “fully voluntary,” (2) “women are free to voluntarily select the timing and spacing of their pregnancies,” (3) targets and quotas have been lifted, (4) in keeping with the principles of the 1994 Cairo Program of Action, abortion is not promoted as a method of family planning and (4) that coercion does not exist.
I have always held the opinion that, given the character of China’s family planning program, and its human rights situation in general, that it was highly unlikely that the UNFPA’s claims about its current program are accurate.
We now have documentation, from on the ground in China, that its claims are completely false. I leave it to the following witness to lay out the details of the coercion, forced abortions, and forced sterilizations which she has documented in a region of China which the UNFPA has claimed is free of such abuses.
It is my recommendation to the Congress that, because of the UNFPA’s continued involvement in China’s coercive one-child policy, and no less because of its sheer duplicity about this involvement, no U.S. funds should be appropriated for its support.
Population Research Institute receives no funding from the Federal government.
Director of Governmental Affairs, America 21
PRI’s Lead Investigator
House Committee on International Relations
October 17, 2001
Honorable Chairman, members of this committee: My investigation in China began on September 27, 2001. With three others — two translators and a photographer — our investigation lasted a total of four days.
During this time, we had the opportunity to interview many women about methods of family planning which are enforced in their county. Some choked back tears as they told of the abuse they suffer as a result of coercive policies of family planning, while others flocked to tell us their stories of coercion.
The interviews we conducted were recorded in notebooks, on audio and videotape, and additional photographic evidence was obtained. The abuses we documented during this investigation are recent, ongoing, rampant and unrelenting. And they exist in a county where the United Nations Population Fund claims that women are free to determine the timing and spacing of pregnancy.
On the first day of our investigation, we interviewed women in a family planning clinic about a mile from the county office of the UNFPA. We interviewed a 19-year-old there who told us she was too young to be pregnant according to the unbending family planning policy. While she was receiving a non-voluntary abortion in an adjacent room, her friends told us that she indeed desired to keep her baby, but she had no choice, since the law forbids.
At another location not far from there, a woman testified that she became pregnant despite an earlier attempt by family planning officials to forcibly sterilize her. That attempt failed. She became pregnant, and was forcibly sterilized a second time by family planning doctors and officials. Had she refused, she told us on videotape, then family planning crews would have torn her house down.
We were told of efforts by many women to hide their pregnancies from government officials, in an attempt to escape forced abortion, so they could give birth to a child they desired. We were told of women having to hide their pregnancies and their children, to escape retribution from officials for not having an abortion. We were told of the many so-called “black” children in the region who are born out of accord with local birth regulations. We were also told of the punishments inflicted on those who wish to freely determine for themselves the timing and spacing of pregnancy.
We were told of the non-voluntary use of IUDs and mandatory examinations so that family planning officials can ensure that women have not removed IUDs in violation of policy, and the strict punishment which result from non-compliance of this coercive and inhumane policy.
One woman we interviewed had heroically escaped forced abortion by hiding in a nearby village. As a result, she testified, three people in her mother’s family, and six people in her mother-in-law’s family, were arrested and thrown into prison. They were released after four months imprisonment, only after a crippling fine — of 17,000 RMB, (about $2,000 US), equal to about three year’s wages) — was paid to family planning officials. Today this woman must pay another 17,000 RMB before her child can be legally registered and permitted to attend school. And when her relatives were in jail, the Office of Family Planning sent a crew of officials armed with jack hammers to their homes. They destroyed their homes and belongings with jack hammers.
All interviews were conducted within a few miles from a UNFPA office, in a county where UNFPA contends that coercion does not exist. In a county where UNFPA claims that only voluntarism prevails, we were told by a victim of abuse that family planning policies involving coercion and force are stricter today than ever before.
Through discrete contact made with local officials, we located the County Government Building. Within this building, we located the Office of Family Planning. And within the Office of Family Planning, we located the UNFPA office. Through local officials, we learned the UNFPA works in and through this Office of Family Planning. We photographed the UNFPA office desk, which faces — in fact touches — a desk of the Chinese Office of Family Planning.
We confirmed that all of the locations of the interviews that were conducted fell within this County and under the governance of the County bureaucracy housed in the County Government Building.
Prior to my arrival in China, advance research had been done regarding family planning policies and operations in other regions. Preparations had been made for investigating these regions. But due to the information already obtained, and mindful of potential risks and dangers to the individuals interviewed, it was decided that I should return home.
Honorable Chairman and members of this committee: in this county where UNFPA operates — where UNFPA insists that only voluntarism exists — we were told by victims of coercion themselves that there is, in fact, no trace of voluntarism in this county. There is only coercion, in abundant supply, in this county where UNFPA operates — from within the Office of Family Planning.
Mr. Chairman: Thank you and God bless.
Laogai Research Foundation
October 17, 2001
Committee on International Relations
United States House of Representatives
I am honored to testify here again on the Planned Birth Policy in the People’s Republic of China.
In 1998, I testified alongside other crucial witnesses on this same issue before this very committee. Unfortunately, the Planned Birth Policy is still carried out as the national policy of the People’s Republic of China, and consequent violations of basic human rights are perpetrated no less frequently.
It is regrettable that in addressing human rights issues, the United States government fails to accuse the Planned Birth Policy of the People’s Republic of China – a policy of gross human rights violations – from a proper standpoint. Primarily focusing on persecution cases of prominent dissidents, our government often overlooks China’s systemic violations of basic human rights, violations that effect each and every citizen: the intellectuals and workers, urbanites and peasants, Han Chinese and minorities, the men, women and children of China. Those overlooked include the massive Laogai (“reform through labor”) system, the Planned Birth Policy, the horrible practice of mass and public execution, the harvesting of executed prisoners’ organs, and the all-around ruthless persecution of religious believers.
To become a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and free nation, China must significantly improve human rights conditions from the most basic and universal aspects. Otherwise, more skyscrapers and high-rises, more manufacturers, and more technology will only transfuse more blood to extend the existence of this regime.
The population policy that began in the 1980’s is a policy under the absolute control of the Chinese Communist Party, a policy that grossly violates human nature as well as human rights. Based exclusively on political considerations, it is a barbaric action.
China argues in support of its population policy, saying that China has limited living and land resources. To become prosperous, China must curb its population growth. They claim that limited living and land resources as a result of overpopulation lead to poor education, environmental hazards, poor medical care, and a low quality of life for the population. To summarize, the Chinese government wishes that people around the world, particularly the Chinese people, could agree that overpopulation is one of the major reasons why China remains poor and corrupt. But, such an argument is preposterous and entirely unacceptable. One only needs to glance a few inches on a globe to see why: Japan, which has far more people per capita than China, is in fact a developed nation, well-educated, stable, and tackling population control through better education rather than brutal control.
In actuality, China’s Communist political and economic system is the main reason why it can barely develop, which in turn causes an exploding population and stagnant economy. The only way to solve China’s population problem is not to strengthen Communism’s political powers, but to drastically change its irrational political and economic system.
To give birth is a basic human right. No government, organization, or individual should, based on political, economic, cultural, religious and racial reasons, deprive a human being’s right to give birth. To give birth is also an act of nature, and try as we might, we cannot always control a human being’s reproductive system. To violently punish a woman and her unborn child for natural consequences often beyond their control is the epitome of cruelty. And, to hold such power in the hands of a central totalitarian regime invites far too many human rights abuses to terrify the masses.
It is my hope that all of you who are here, all American statesmen, scholars, religious workers and grassroots citizens, will agree that such a personal, yet universal issue of one’s right to procreate deserves a standard that cannot be overlooked by China.
In 1998, I testified on how the Planned Birth Policy was implemented in the Fujian Province. Today I testify on new research in Tianjin Municipality and in regions of national minorities.
Tianjin, with its population of ten million, is one of China’s four municipalities directly under the central government, the other three being Bejing, Shanghai, and Chongqing. With its better economic and cultural conditions, one would expect the implementation of its Planned Birth Policy to be relatively more “civilized” than in other regions.
The following is a description of our investigation:
1. According to Article Four of Tianjin Municipality Regulations of Planned Birth (Attachment I) which was promulgated on April 15, 1994 by the Seventh Plenary Session, Twelfth People’s Congress Standing Committee of Tianjin Municipality, Tianjin carries out a system that holds the CEOs of work units accountable for population quotas during their tenure. In other words, the responsibility of CEOs for population quotas is fixed by their governmental superiors. CEOs at all levels are duty-bound, authorized, and determined to make it impossible for population growth to surpass fixed quotas during their tenure. If they fail to do so, they will lose their promotions and risk dismissal or punishment. This is the principle reason why Communist cadres at all levels resort to desperate, barbaric practices of forcing artificial abortion and sterilization, and killing infants. Such a practice relates directly to the security of their jobs.
For instance, superior units allow Xinanliuxing Village of the Dongpuwa Township in Wuqing County, Tianjin, which has a population of 500, a quota of only 2.5 children annually, or, 5 children every two years. (Attachment II) Should more than five children be born, the punishment befalls the village party branch secretary and planned birth director. Subsequently, they sterilize all women with two children in the village. All women with one child are forced to undergo device-insertion surgery. The device reliability and pregnancy are checked every three months. If a woman is pregnant, she must undergo an abortion. The report lists two cases of this.
The attachment also lists an incident that happened in the Aiying (“Baby-Friendly”) Hospital in Tianjin, a facility affiliated with the Tianjin Central Women’s Hospital. WANG Gulian, a woman with one child who became pregnant again at the age of 25, was to undergo artificial abortion for causing “overbirth” (over-quota birth or out-of-plan birth). Her case history states: “05/13/97, 10:30 AM, patient emptied bladder. Induced delivery. Needle inserted two fingers beneath navel. Needle extracted. Clear amniotic fluid. 100 ml of Rufenol (a drug to kill the fetus) injected. Patient experienced no discomfort. 05/14/97, 7:00 AM. Irregular lump dropped out. No fluid from vagina. No blood. 05/15/97, 6:30 AM. Since yesterday, experiencing regular uterine contraction. At 10 PM last night, amniotic fluid broke out. At 6 AM this morning, dead infant delivered. Good contraction. Placenta dropped out . . .”
This hospital, which receives funds from the United Nations Children Foundation, performs around 300 forced abortion surgeries and 100-150 sterilization surgeries monthly.
2. According to Article Two of Tianjin Municipality Regulations of Planned Birth, out-of-plan births and out-of-wedlock births are prohibited; birth can only be granted to children within the plan. As Tianjin Planned Birth Committee explains, “Prohibiting out-of-plan births means prohibiting non-approved second or third births”; “out-of-wedlock births means unmarried people giving birth,” and this is considered to be illegal; “population growth must correspond to plan” means that the superior government units stipulate subordinate units’ birth plans, which must in no case be “overfilled.”
Such a population control policy, with the government stipulating birth figures, has been unprecedented in world history. The figures have legal binding force and are executed by CEOs authorized by the government to implement their quotas.
An investigation report shows that the Planned Birth Policy of the People’s Republic of China allows national minorities to be treated somewhat differently. But, to learn the truth of that, one needs only to read the statement of Uzbek minority Mahire Omerjan. Mahire, a young woman with one son, was held down against her will despite legislation allowing minorities two or three children while nurses forcibly pushed her healthy, unborn child out of her womb. (Attachment III)
According to a recent report issued by the Chinese authorities, as the result of implementing the Planned Birth Policy over the last twenty years, the Chinese population is 330 million less than had been predicted. Beijing boasts this as the great victory of its Planned Birth Policy, and indeed, that is a significant figure in population control. But we, as fellow human beings, are required to ask how many of those 330 million were desired children, annihilated through forced abortion? If we assume the proportion to be one third, then that means 110 million lives destroyed and 110 million mothers the victims of violent law enforcement. If we assume the proportion to be merely one tenth, we see 33 million families disrupted for the sake of officials’ good favor with an unstable, totalitarian regime. This is planned and pre-meditated murder and abuse of both women and children.
Violent consequences aside, it is important to note that if Chinese authorities continue to implement this Planned Birth Policy, the Chinese population will be horribly unbalanced. In a small village in the Guanxi province, 19 out of 24 births during the year 2001 were boys. China’s population of 1.2 billion people has 41 million more men than women. The Chinese generally prefer their only child to be male, particularly in the countryside where boys are of more help to the family. Therefore, female infants are often killed or left at orphanages. If this continues, the proportion of males will quickly tower over the proportion of females, leading to a vaster network of women trafficking as men scramble to find wives. Upcoming generations will have no concept of siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts. China will be an abnormal, hapless nation.
I stand before you today to condemn the nature and implementation of China’s Planned Birth Policy. I wholeheartedly agree that something must be done to control China’s population problem. However, what I have described today is a brutal method that, in time, will only further sour the relationship between the government and the masses and lead to problems of a far more serious nature. I therefore urge the Chinese authorities to seek out and consider alternative methods of population control, to research more successful and less violent method implemented by other nations. And I urge the American government to assist them as best they can.
Tianjin Investigation Report, Part I
To grasp the reality of the Planned Birth Policy, we visited Xiqing (formerly Xijiao) District, Tianjin, in the Dongtaizi and Xiaojinzhuang Villages of the Wangwenzhuang Township. Through a friend, we were able to talk with cadres in charge of planned birth who told us how the policy is implemented.
The first planned birth cadre with whom we spoke was ZHOU Guilan, a 52-year-old female, who had been a peasant. From 1974 through 1996, Zhou spent over twenty years working the planned birth office until she retired because of her age. Our friend, who knew Zhou well, told her that we were writing a thesis on population and wanted to consult her on the implementation of Planned Birth policies in rural areas. She spoke frankly and gave us highly reliable information. We therefore wrote this report under our real names.
According to Zhou, 1983 was an important year in planned birth, with new methods replacing old ones. This was confirmed by the second woman we spoke to, TIAN, the vice head of Xiaojinzhuang Village. We spoke with them separately, but what they told us was the same.
In 1983, their superiors, commune-level cadres, sent a Bazhou City physician to them who had already performed sterilization surgeries on thousands of women of child-bearing age who already had two children. The surgeries were said to be “voluntary,” when in actuality, no targeted woman could refuse the surgery. The targeted women in the township were brought to the physician by village and township cadres.
The physician performed the surgeries quickly, spending no more than ten minutes on each sterilized woman. A total of 89 targeted women underwent sterilization.
We asked if there had been surgical accidents. She said one malpractice accident happened to a Xiaojinzhuang woman. Asked how the situation was handled, she said township took care of the woman’s health care and subsidiaries. She did not disclose the amount, but added that the woman died in 1997.
Asked about key points in planned birth work, she said that the most important factor is not to overstep “quotas” – the number of permissive births. Superiors grant the birth quotas to grassroots leaders, who in turn report all births. Each district has its planned birth office, townships have their own planned birth agencies, and villages each have a team of planned birth workers. A village Communist Party secretary and the village head take charge of a township’s Planned birth Policy, but the workers carry out the actual deeds.
A newly-married couple is given one quota, or permission to bear one child. Upon the birth of their first child, endless “precautions” begin to prevent a second birth. If their first child is female, they may have a second child with permission from authorities. This is called “rational second birth.” Unconditional sterilization follows to rule out further births.
It goes without saying that certain methods of enactment are indispensable to the policy. Zhou told us that in each of the four villages within the township – Xiaohanzhuang, Xiaonianzhuang, Xiaojinzhuang and Xilanzhai – homes that housed families with more than one child had been razed to the ground by bulldozers. Village Planned Birth officials brought all child-bearing-age women to the homes to bear witness to the destruction. This method, known as “killing the chicken to scare the monkey” is popular in maintaining Communist power and is akin to practices of public executions and public sentencing rallies. The second cadre we spoke with confirmed the method of destroying homes.
In Dongtaizi Village, a second birth took place and the family received a monetary penalty of 147,000 RMB, a sum they were unable to pay. Village cadres pitied them and lessened the penalty to 30,000 RMB under the condition that should another family follow their example, the full amount would befall the entire village. When a family produces an “over-birth,” the entire village is often penalized with heavy fines.
Asked if illegally born children receive “residence quotas”, documents that prove their legitimacy and ultimately important in one’s search for education and employment, Tian replied, “Of course not.”
When a woman receives a second-birth permit, she must pledge to be sterilized immediately following the second birth. If she refuses to do so, police and courts have the right to become involved, resulting in possible monetary fines and property confiscation among other punishments.
A fee of 5,550 RMB obtains a second-birth permit. With 550 RMB paid for sterilization, 5,000 RMB is refunded once sterilization is complete. If the mother refuses sterilization, 5,000 RMB is held as a penalty and forced sterilization ensues.
Urine tests and ultrasounds must be completed every three months on each fertile woman. If a woman tests positive for pregnancy, she immediately undergoes an abortion. Once, in Xiaosunzhuang, a woman managed to evade the routine exams. When officials caught up to her, she was over 8 months pregnant. Officials aborted her fetus.
The development of planned birth work is difficult to study in rural areas. Both Zhou and Tian, however, agreed that since the 1990’s it has been easier for them to handle their work. It seems that people have become “enlightened” and have lost some hostility to population-control workers. They said that women are beginning to see the benefits of having less children, and some even returned their second-birth quotas. Many others with whom we spoke agreed: it seems that Chinese women are indeed willing to have less children.
Tianjin Investigation, Part II
On July 17, 1998, I visited Xinanliuxing Villiage in Wuqing County of Tianjin Municipality. JIN Yao’s aunt, age 56, was the Communist Party secretary. I told her that I was assigned by my unit to carry on a social investigation on the topic of planned birth. She was in charge of planned birth work, and had as a subordinate an illiterate woman to carry out the policies.
Our talk progressed smoothly. What she said was fully trustworthy.
The small mountain village has a population of 500. At present, there is no population growth in the village. The village had a quota of 2.5 children annually, or 5 children in two years. In that year, the village elementary school did not have enough students to form a class.
As she recalled, the superior township government started the planned birth work in 1975. The goal at that time was: one couple, two children. They discouraged families having three children.
In 1983, all women who had just given birth to their second child were sterilized. Those who resisted were taken to the township and locked up for several days. Village women, fearing government actions, agreed to the surgery, and only then could they return home.
In the Planned Birth Policy, a village may be stipulated a monetary penalty of 200,000 RMB for each case of over-birth. The first 20,000 RMB is due as soon as the child is born, followed by yearly fines of 10,000 RMB for the next 18 years.
Village cadres suffer punishment if they overlook a case of over-birth. Planned birth work carries on under tight supervision by superior units.
A woman undergoes device-insertion surgery as soon as she gives birth to her first child. Every three months, workers from the township test her urine. Once, a woman whose urine tests were not performed, was sent to undergo an abortion when she was eight months pregnant. Usually, a shot is given to the infant in the womb to induce a still-born birth. In this case, the shot mistakenly entered the amniotic fluid and the child emerged alive and healthy. The child’s grandmother bravely forced her way into the office, yelling, “This child is legal. You gave a faulty shot. Don’t you dare touch him!” As a result, the child survived and the family escaped monetary penalties.
Another woman in her eighth month of pregnancy was sent to the hospital for an abortion. When physicians left the hospital in the evening, they locked the iron gate in the hallway. The woman crept through an opening above the gate and escaped. She had barely reached the bus station when she gave birth to her child. The child escaped death, but the woman’s grain ration was reduced and she paid heavy fines.
No house was dismantled in this village. Women of child-bearing age whose first born is a girl and qualify for a second child may do so when they turn 35. When a husband or wife is impaired, a second birth is approved 4 years after the first birth. Women approved to have a second birth must pay 3,000 RMB and pledge to undergo sterilization immediately following. Once sterilization is complete, the 3,000 RMB is refunded to them.
Investigation written by Laogai Research Foundation associates within China in October 1999.
Mahire Omerjan’s Statement
My name is Mahire Omerjan, female. I was born on May 5th, 1960, in Urumqi City, Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region, China. In July 1978 I graduated from Experimental High School, Senior Section, Urumqi City, and started working as a substitute teacher at #47 Elementary School, Urumqi City. In November 1980, I was hired by Tien Shan Woolen Mill in Xinjiang. My nationality is Uzbek, a very small nationality of 9,000 people living mainly in Urumqi, Ghutja, Kashgar, Guqung and other places. On October 13th, 1985, I married Adil Atawutta, a Uigur man. Our family has always been a happy one. In April 1996, he came to the United States. He is a graduate student of computer science at Northwestern Polytechnic University. Before that he had taught experimental physics at Xinjiang Normal University.
In November, 1988, I gave birth to our first child. He is twelve now. In January, 1990, I was pregnant with our second child, and misfortunes befell me. Those at our company who were in charge of our planned birth knew I was pregnant. They said they would think about how to handle “my problem.” A few months later, they said, “You can’t have this child. It’s not in keeping with the spirit of related documents.” I asked them what “documents’ spirit” it was not in keeping with, and they replied, “You’re child is not yet three. You must wait until he is three, and then you can have a second child.” They also said I would have to go through an abortion. Some time passed, and the people at our company in charge of planned birth talked to me again. They said they would not allow me to have a second child and urged me to have an abortion. Then I explained to them, “I’m a minority. According to your National Minorities Policy, I am allowed to have two children. Besides, I’m five months pregnant. We have our religious faith. By our religion, abortion is not permitted. It’s a crime.” But they said, “We don’t care about your religion. Such is the Party’s planned birth policy. We will not permit you to have this child.” I said, ” I’m a mother. To give birth to children is the right Allah gives me. It’s the continuation of life. I must give birth to this child.”
Many times I spoke with my bosses, requesting permission to have the child. My husband also wrote letters to my unit requesting that they give me a chance. At the same time, he went to the Autonomous Region’s Urumqi City Planned Birth Office, requesting that they give me a “birth quota.” But, all our endeavors turned out to be futile. During the whole process more than one month passed. Finally, my unit decided to take me by force to the hospital for an abortion. I was then six and a half months pregnant. My husband had appealed to all possible units and people, including bosses in our respective units, requesting that they permit an innocent life to be born into this world. But, all of them rejected his pleas. They said, “If you don’t do what we want, we’ll suspend your wages, cancel your bonuses, levy a 2,500 RMB penalty on you, suspend all benefits you are enjoying now. And your child will never have a residence permit. He’ll be a nobody.” This actually meant I would lose my job. They tried to dissuade me in such ignominious ways, economically and administratively. We thought about this and decided, whatever they resort to, we must keep our child.
Nevertheless, reality was too cruel. In Xinjiang, the Communist Party exercises not only dictatorial rule, but rampant racial discrimination. The Communists periodically carry out “red terror.” I am a woman of the Uzbek national minority with a population of only thousands. But, they wanted me to have an abortion. Xinjiang, or Eastern Turkestan, is the land where we have lived for generations upon generations. On this land, we do not enjoy even minimal rights. They even decide how and when we can give birth to children. They do whatever they want. If I had lost my job at that time, I would have no chance to find another. My husband’s monthly salary was 380 RMB ($45). We lived a very simple life. We did not have thousands of dollars to pay to them. We had to survive. We had to breed our first child.
I must mention that according to China’s National Minorities Policy in Xinjiang and Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region’s planned birth documents, families of Uigur, Kazak, and other national minorities living in urban areas are allowed to have two children, while families of such national minorities like Uzbek and Tatar, with a population of under 10,000 living in urban areas, are allowed to have three children. Nevertheless, different units, while actually implementing the “policy” or “spirit of documents” may act in their own ways or simply refuse to implement the national minority rights.
At that time, my work unit, trying its best to be evaluated as one of the advanced enterprises in the nation, “excellent in ten aspects” (one of the aspects being planned birth), completely disregarded the “policy” and “documents.” To be exact, certain Communist Party officials, striving for personal gains and an “untarnished reputation” as leaders of “advanced units,” disregard people’s lives and reduce themselves to cannibalism. They do everything in their power to attain their goal, economically and administratively. How the Communist Party’s National Minorities Policy sounds in words is one thing; how it is implemented is quite another. As a matter of fact, there really is no law in China.
On July 15th, 1990, at 2:00 PM, my work unit sent a Nissan van to my home. BAI Li of my unit’s planned birth office, YING Fengying, the trade union chairperson, and XU Jun, a trade union staff member, came to my home. They escorted me to #1 Hospital attached to the Xinjiang Medical School for “impulsive artificial abortion surgery.” I was in tears. The next morning, at 10:00 AM, a health checkup was done. One of the physicians who checked me said, “Your child is very healthy and big.” After the check-up, I was administered a kind of drug. About an hour later, I was sent to the obstetrician surgical room. My husband was kept outside. I was put on an operating table. Two nurses were standing on either side of me. An obstetrician was about to give me a shot. I saw the needle was thick, about 10 centimeters long, and asked the obstetrician on which part of my body she would administer the shot. She told me it would go through my abdomen. Terrified, I thought the shot was going directly into my child’s body, because my child was struggling fiercely in my abdomen. At that moment, I panicked and thought I must keep my child at any cost. I told the obstetrician, “Doctor, don’t give me the shot. I want to go home. I want my child!” I started calling for my husband. But the two nurses started pressing my arms with all their might. One of the nurses said ferociously, “Who told you to get pregnant! Who told you not to act according to the planned birth policy!” I was struggling and crying. But still, the needle went into the right side of my abdomen. About two hours later my abdomen began aching and I was perspiring all over. My stomach ached so badly, as though it would break. Some time later, in agony, I found my child was no longer struggling. That was the most painful moment in my life. I hated the “medical personnel” bitterly. They tarnished the most noble and humanitarian profession in the world. It was they who murdered an innocent life in his mother’s abdomen. Could there be anything more tragic in the world? But there was nothing I could do about it. I was crying. I hated myself. I felt sorry for my elder child, because his brother was murdered by those monsters. Oh, Allah, you saw everything with your own eyes! Crying, I implored the obstetrician to allow my husband to stand by my side, but she refused. Some time passed. I lost consciousness. When I came to, my abdomen was aching badly. The two nurses were forcefully pressing my abdomen, slowly pushing my child downward. They wanted me to breathe heavily. I was weak all over. I almost lost consciousness. More time passed. I saw them slowly pushing my child outward. The two nurses were fighting for the placenta, saying it could be made into a kind of medicine. Crying, I asked them to show me the child. One of the nurses, taking my child by his legs, showed him to me for a short moment. Struggling, I wanted to hug my child, but was weak all over. I saw it was a boy, very big. . . Then, I fainted. When I awoke, I was in a ward of twelve patients and was having an intravenous glucose drip. My husband was standing by their side. I hugged him and cried bitterly. Only later did I know that the two nurses only took me to the obstetrician surgical room’s door in a wheelchair. It was my husband who carried me to the ward.
The whole thing was a true nightmare. It is too terrible, too tragic. But it really happened! We lost our child. Helplessly, we watched them murder our child, who was six and a half months and was going to be born into this world in just two months. Two hours later, my husband went to the obstetrician surgical room to see our child. But, they had already sent the child to be frozen in a big refrigerator. According to Islamic ritual, my husband took our child to the mosque, where he groomed our child’s ace. He saw the child had bluish birthmarks above his right ear and on one side of his head. Finally, he wrapped the child in gauze and, after religious rituals, buried him in a Muslim cemetery on Yan’an Road, Urumqi. For seven years, we have visited him several times each year. We can only hope that the innocent life can live happily in paradise.
Interview conducted in August 2000 by the Laogai Research Foundation.
House Committee on International Relations
October 17, 2001
Coercive Chinese Birth Control Policy on Uyghurs in East Turkestan
Dear Chairman, Members of Congress, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank you for giving me this precious opportunity to testify before you. My name is Yemlibike Fatkulin. I have asylum in the United States. I came to the US two years ago. Now I would like to testify on coercive Chinese birth control policies imposed on the Uyghur people since 1984.
To restrain and control the natural growth of the Uyghur population, the Chinese government has carried out a coercive birth control and forced sterilization policies on the Uyghurs in East Turkistan. Since then, under the pretext of “ensuring a steady growth in minority population”, “improving the quality of minorities” and “eliminating economic inequalities”, the Chinese government launched a series of extensive birth control and forced sterilization campaigns all over East Turkistan, targeting the Uyghur women.
In the summer of 1998, my cousin Eneytulla Habibil’s wife Mangnehan was about to have twins at Turpan Yar village 5-star hospital. However, the twins were immediately aborted after hospital officials learned that they already had a child. At that time my cousin was in prison, serving his 2-year sentence for religious activities.
Officially, the one child policy on applies to the nationalities over 10 million population in China. East Turkistan (which is also called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by China), with a Uyghur population around eight million, is regarded as a “minority nationality” and is in theory not subject to the provisions of family planning legislation in China. However, in practice, the birth control and sterilization policies have been actively promoted and encouraged by the Chinese government in the Uyghur towns and villages of Eastern Turkistan, especially in rural areas.
Most of my relatives live in Turpan, an oasis town near Urumchi. My cousin Tursunay, who is Eneytulla’s sister, was sentenced to prison for two years in 1995. All she did was wearing religious veils and devoted her to study religion. She was forcibly sterilized in a prison at Turpan. Now she is out of prison. However, she could never have a child in her lifetime.
The Chinese government has set up a large number of family planning work force and birth control clinics in all the hospitals of East Turkistan. Every year, in order to speed up the implementation of birth control and sterilization policies toward the indigenous Uyghurs, mobile family planning teams are sent out to countryside areas for conducting mass abortion and sterilization. Those Uyghur women who refuse to conduct abortion are forcibly operated upon.
Chinese birth control policies and regulations imposed on the Uyghurs affect both Uyghur women and children. My relative Kerimhan’s three babies were all aborted by Chinese doctors in Turpan Yar village 5-star hospital. As a result of forced abortion, she developed severe bleeding problem until this very day.
Besides the complex rules controlling how many children Uyghurs can have legitimately, there is also a series of fines and punishments for Uyghur couples who break the rules and have an unauthorized child.
My stepsister Arzigul Ablet was fined heavily after she had her first baby born before the designated time of birth by the Chinese government. Chinese family planning officials told Arzigul that she had to have her baby in early 1997. Since Arzigul born the child in December 1996, she was fined for 3,000 yuan, which was her six-month salary.
Under these rules the Uyghur children who are born without state authorization can be denied residency, food, healthcare, and even schooling. Even though, the Uyghurs who live in the cities are allowed to have two children and the ones live in rural areas are allowed to have three but most of the times they are denied to have more than one child with an excuse of having no extra quotas. The Chinese government, through social benefits and other further restrictions, usually discourages those who want to have more than one child.
Every year, the Chinese family planning officials claim that the birth control and sterilization plans among the Uyghurs in East Turkistan have been successfully implemented, and it has fulfilled the state requirements. According to some Uyghur family planning workers, in order to fulfill the quota of abortions, sometimes Chinese doctors are forced to kill the newborn Uyghur babies. As a result, this birth control system has lead to the deaths of many Uyghur mothers and children every year.
My neighbor Patam who had three children in her first marriage got married in 1993 with a Uyghur man who had two children. Together they wanted to have a child after they got married. However, she was forcibly operated upon and her child was aborted in Urumchi #2 People’s Hospital. She became paralyzed ever since her baby was aborted. She couldn’t walk or stand up after this tragic event.
The current Uyghur population is less than one percent of China’s total population. To restrict and control the natural growth of a population of this size in any country is to totally annihilate and genocide them. Therefore, the Chinese birth control policy of forced abortion and sterilization of Uyghurs is not a policy of ensuring the overall quality of Uyghur population. On the contrary, it is to gradually exterminate them by imposing all the political, economic and social means and restrictions.
Congressman Henry J. Hyde
Chairman, House International Relations Committee
October 17, 2001
Over twenty years ago it first became apparent that the government of the People’s Republic of China was compelling women to abort their “unauthorized” unborn children. It also appeared that the government was forcing women —- and sometimes men —- to undergo sterilization when they had had the maximum number of children the government thought they should have. The usual method was intense persuasion, using all the economic, social, and psychological tools a totalitarian state has at its disposal. When these methods failed, the woman could be taken by physical force to a government birth control clinic for the abortion or sterilization.
Throughout the sordid history of this coercive program, the government of China has insisted that the program is fully voluntary. In recent years they have conceded that there may have been isolated abuses by overzealous local officials, but that these were strictly unauthorized.
In January of 1998 the United Nations Population Fund, or UNFPA – which had long had a close working relationship with PRC family planning officials – signed a new four-year agreement with Beijing. Under this agreement, UNFPA would operate in 32 counties throughout China. In each of these counties, the central and local authorities had agreed that there would be no coercion and no birth quotas, and that abortion would not be promoted as a method of family planning.
Some of us were skeptical about whether UNFPA was really the right organization to ensure against coercion in China. UNFPA officials had consistently defended the Chinese family planning program against accusations of forced abortion and forced sterilization, even long after other observers had concluded that these abuses did occur. Judging from this unhappy experience, we worried about whether UNFPA officials would recognize coercion when they saw it. But hope triumphed over experience, and the then Administration supported the new agreement.
Today’s testimony suggests that, after three years, the new arrangement is not working. Our lead witness today, Ms. Josephine Guy, just returned from one of UNFPA’s 32 model counties. She will testify and present videotaped evidence of forced abortion, of the destruction of houses belonging to families who have had unauthorized children, and of similar abuses that have been associated with the PRC population control program. Other witnesses will testify that this new evidence is consistent with the history of the program and with the current situation in the rest of China.
This evidence suggests that the same harsh reality still prevails in this so-called model county that has long prevailed throughout China. The only difference appears to be that coercion is now cloaked behind the rhetoric of voluntarism, shielded from criticism by yet another international seal of approval.
I regret that the legislative schedule will prevent me from hearing this testimony first-hand, but I look forward to reviewing it, along with a UNFPA response which I understand will be placed in the record. Congressman Christopher Smith, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, will chair the remainder of the hearing, and I will carefully consider with him and with other Members of the Committee the appropriate legislative response to the evidence we receive today.
Congressman Christopher H. Smith
Vice-Chairman, House International Relations Committee
October 17, 2001
Coercive Population Control in China:
New Evidence of Forced Abortion and Forced Sterilization
Civilizations can be judged by how they treat women, children, old people and strangers. Those who are the most vulnerable bring out the kindness in every society, and also the cruelty. One of the most horrific abuses ever practiced on women and children is forced abortion.
I do even think we can imagine the pain and suffering inflicted upon women who are told by their government that the child they are carrying and protecting in their body must be brutally killed with chemical weapons-poison shots-or dismembered with a surgical knife. I do not even know if we can comprehend what goes through a young woman’s mind as she sits in the waiting room of the government family planning clinic knowing that her entire future and employment situation-and that of her family is dependant on the government ordered death of her unborn child. The terror of forced abortion is a human rights abuse of the greatest magnitude-and it is carried out against women and children with appalling and sickening efficiency in China.
Since 1979 to today, children in the PRC are presumed illegal and totally expendable unless an explicit “birth authorization” is given by the government. If that permission is not granted, the mother is cruelly punished with a forced abortion and the child is murdered.
The one-child-policy of China, like the forced abortion policy of the Nazis, constitutes wholesale crimes against humanity. The Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal got it absolutely right a half century ago, and forced abortion in China is no less of a crime against humanity today.
On June 10, 1998, when I was the Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, I chaired a shocking hearing on Forced Abortion and Sterilization in China: The View From the Inside. In that hearing, we heard testimony from Mrs. Gao Xiaoduan who was the senior official at what the government of China euphemistically calls a “family planning clinic.” Mrs. Gao could no longer live with herself while continuing to do this work and she came to the United States to tell us what was going on behind the scenes in China. She knew what China’s true policy was because she had helped to carry out that terrible policy.
We heard information about the fines that the government imposes on couples who have “unauthorized” children, and how the family planning Gestapo destroys the homes and takes the property of those who cannot pay those fines. We heard that women are psychologically and physically pressured to abort unauthorized children, to the point of being dragged to the abortion mill.
Mrs. Gao also told us that the Chinese population control program employs a network of paid informants to report on unauthorized pregnancies of neighbors, family and friends. She also reported that forced sterilization is even used as a punishment for men and women who disobey the rules.
Chinese population control cadres conduct nighttime raids on couples suspected of having unauthorized children, and they keep detailed records on the sexual activity of every woman in their jurisdiction-so much for privacy. And to make the coercive regime complete, the “family planning centers” have prison cells-with bars-to detain those who resist forced abortion or sterilization.
I think it is appropriate and necessary that today this committee, the Congress and the President revisit the issue of forced abortion in China to determine what has changed, if anything. We also must reevaluate our support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the context of whether or not they support this most terrible human rights abuse.
It is worth noting that throughout the 1980s and 1990s, when most observers had concluded that coercion was an integral part of the PRC program, UNFPA continued to work with the program and UNFPA officials including then-Executive Director Nafis Sadik continued to defend it.
In 1983 the PRC government received the first United Nations Population Award “for the most outstanding contribution to the awareness of population questions.”
In 1989 Executive Director Nafis Sadik said in an interview on CBS that “the implementation of the policy [in China] and the acceptance of the policy is purely voluntary. There is no such thing as, you know, a license to have a birth and so on.”
What a blatant lie—I would say to my colleagues.
In 1991, the official PRC news agency Xinhua summarized an interview with Sadik as follows: “China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy and control of its population growth over the past 10 years. Now the country could offer its experiences and special experts to help other countries.”
In January 1998, the UNFPA signed a new 4-year, $20 million agreement with the PRC. In announcing this program, the UNFPA emphasized that it would work in only 32 counties throughout China, and that the PRC government had agreed that in these 32 counties there would be no coercion and no birth quotas, and that, in keeping with the principles of the Program of Action adopted at the United Nations Conference on Population in Cairo in 1994, abortion is not promoted as a method of family planning.
UNFPA Praises China’s Family Planning Policy
In March of this year the People’s Daily reported that Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, newly-appointed executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, “praised that over the past 20 years, China has seen notable achievements made in population control by implementing the family planning policy. It has thereupon played an active role in curbing the population growth across the world.”
Imagine, the wholesale killing of millions of babies and the massive victimization of millions of women is deemed a “notable achievement” by the top UN population control bureaucrats. That seems to me to be breathtakingly cruel. Anyone who cares about human rights should be shocked.
The March People’s Daily also reported that, “During an interview in January when taking up her post of the UNFPA executive director, Ms. Obaid told the journalist that China, having adopted practical measure in accordance with her current situation, has scored remarkable achievements in population control. In recent years, the UNFPA and China have carried out a series of favorable and positive cooperation with more than 100 cooperative items of assistance established in the country.”
For decades the UNFPA has vigorously endorsed, extolled and shamefully encouraged the most anti-woman Taliban-like policy in the world-forced abortion. The UNFPA has been a party to egregious human rights abuses against the Chinese people-especially women and children. Their monetary support and systematic whitewashing of the crimes of forced abortion and forced sterilization in China is an indictment against them.
Today, we will hear testimony that demonstrates that China still abuses its people in a massive way with forced abortion, and the testimony will show that the UNFPA backs these abuses.
Since Mrs. Gao came to tell us about these abuses, the United States has given the UNFPA $46.5 million. Women who have to leave everything and go into hiding to save the lives of their children-the lucky ones-are nothing short of heroes. We don’t even know their names, but they deserve our respect for having given up everything to protect their children. Those who try to hunt them like animals to destroy their children and imprison their families and jackhammer their houses are the oppressors. In the name of compassion and humanity they deserve our opposition, and those who are linked to these abuses against women and children should be defunded.
Rep. Joseph Pitts
House International Relations Committee
October 17, 2001
As we evaluate our response, the United States must examine its own support for programs that assist China in carrying out this abusive program.
In good conscience, the United States simply should not fund the UNFPA while it is funding and actively promoting China’s abhorrent and oppressive population control program.