February 22, 2002
Volume 4/ Number 6
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) thinks it is a good idea to give one million dollars to Beijing University to study birth defects in China. Apparently the CDC scientists think that China’s one-child policy provides a perfect laboratory to conduct eugenics experiments on women and their babies because society is so controlled and all pregnancies are “planned.” The Bush Administration has promised to raise issues of human rights abuses with the Chinese in Beijing this week, but it remains to be seen whether the U.S. will extricate itself from bankrolling these atrocities.
Steven W. Mosher
In China Bush Must Extricate U.S. From Crimes Against Humanity: Eugenics and Forced Abortion
Extricating U.S. taxpayers from supporting atrocities committed by China’s totalitarian regime, what Congressman Christopher Smith has described as crimes against humanity, is a priority.(1) This is why I and others will be addressing the human rights situation in China at PRI’s upcoming Global Family Life Conference in Santa Clara, California, April 3-7.
It has just come to light that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is offering $1 million to the Beijing University Health Science Center to carry out eugenics research in China. According to the program announcement, the grant establishes a “cooperative agreement” between the People’s Republic and the United States for the “study of birth defects and other reproductive and developmental outcomes in China.” The goal of the study is to promote “optimal birth outcomes in China.”(2)
Why would China, notorious for its one-child policy, be considered by the CDC as the “most appropriate country” to conduct such a study?(3) Because the Chinese system of planned births, where “registration for marriage in required, and virtually all pregnancies are planned,” is a perfect laboratory for studying birth defects.
The grant announcement, which appeared in Federal Register on February 14, mispresents China’s 1995 eugenics law as a well-intentioned effort to promote a “healthy pregnancy” and a “healthy baby.”(4)
In fact, however, eugenics, in the sense of breeding a better Chinese man and woman, has been an integral part of China’s one-child policy from the beginning. The Chinese people are ceaselessly exhorted to “Wanhun, Wansheng, Shaosheng, Yousheng,” a slogan meaning “Late Marriage, Late Birth, Few Births, Quality Births.” The last is an open reference to a government-sponsored effort to improve the quality of the population, not unlike that attempted by the Nazis.
This comes through in China’s 1995 Maternal and Child Health Law, which mandates forced sterilization for one, or both, of the parents if “inappropriate” genetic “predispositions” are detected by state officials. Individuals judged “mentally or physically handicapped” by state officials are often not allowed to get married at all, and forced abortions are imposed on those women whose pregnancies are unauthorized. Genetic testing prior to marriage is mandated by the state without exception.(5)
The actual practice in China is even more disturbing. Ethnic minorities are a particular target, since ethnic Han geneticists claim that they find higher rates of “cretins,” “idiots,” and “imbeciles” among minority populations like the Tibetans, and sterilize them in large numbers on eugenics grounds. Tibetan groups rightly denounce these actions, as well as the one-child policy itself, as genocidal.
And what of the “women who may be eligible to participate in clinical trials or other birth defects prevention programs”? They–and their unborn children–will be little more than human guinea pigs. Informed consent is virtually unknown in China, a one-party dictatorship, with its rigid system of reproductive controls. Little wonder that the program description gloats that, because of these same controls, participants “can therefore be identified early, at the time of registration for marriage”?
Given the racist character of China’s eugenics program, as well as the fact that it is rife with coercion, we should not be funding, directly or indirectly, any research in China which in any way relates to, or benefits from, Chinese one-child policy.
U.S. support of forced abortion
In addition to eugenics, the US has for the past few years been supporting the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which supports and defends China’s one-child policy.
Fifty-five members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written a letter to President Bush urging him to zero-fund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) because of its support for forced abortion and forced sterilization in China.(7) To do anything less than permanently zero-fund UNFPA, the Congressman argue, would be to violate the Kemp-Kasten amendment which prohibits U.S. funds from going to organizations that support forced abortion and forced sterilization abroad.
President Bush has already taken steps towards extricating the U.S. from complicity in these crimes against humanity by placing a hold on $34 million for UNFPA in 2002 and $25 million for 2003.
And at a 6 February 2002 hearing of the House Committee on International Relations, Congressman Chris Smith urged U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to ensure the Administration would raise the issue of UNFPA and forced abortion during his visit to Beijing, February 21-22. “Forced abortion, as we all know, was properly ruled as a crime against humanity at the Nazi War Crimes Tribunals that were held in Nuremburg. China today, on a massive scale. use(s) forced abortion to exploit and to control women, and to murder their babies. Enablers like the U.N. Population fund have whitewashed these crimes for more than two decades,” said Smith.
“[W]e are very sensitive to the concerns you raise,” responded Powell, “and we will raise them with the Chinese later this month.”(8)
The issue came up again at a 13 February hearing of the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee, when Rep. Roger Wicker (R-MS) questioned Powell about UNFPA practice of sharing office space with Chinese family planning cadres in Sihui county, Guangdong province.
Powell responded that “we’re trying to get ground truth [about UNFPA] and we may have to send some people over [to China] to make an independent evaluation and take a look at it.”(9)
But an official State Department investigation of UNFPA operations in China, conducted with the consent or foreknowledge of the PRC, would be unlikely to uncover any new evidence. The Chinese government, which vehemently denies that it practices forced abortions, would go to great lengths to disguise the truth about UNFPA complicity in forced abortions.
“Some Americans,” China’s Foreign Ministry stated, “acting regardless of the facts, have lobbied for the U.S. to cancel its donation to the UNFPA. This is with ulterior intentions, and is unfavorable for international cooperation in population control.”(10)
The vast majority of Americans, of course, do not want to cooperate in “population control” with the People’s Republic of China, or any other country, for that matter. No further investigations are necessary. President Bush has more than enough evidence to justify permanently zero-funding UNFPA.
To do anything less would be to condone, or cover up, forced abortion in China.
1. Congressman Christopher H. Smith, Congressional Statement, “Coercive Population Control in China: New Evidence of Forced Abortion and Forced Sterilization,” House Committee on International Relations, 17 October 2002.
2. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Cooperative Agreement for Epidemiologoc Studies of Birth Defect and Developmental Disabilities, and the Promotion of Optimal Birth Outcomes in China; Notice of Availability of Funds,” Federal Register, 14 February 2002.
3. Ibid., DHHS.
5. Frank Dikotter, Director, Contemporary China Institute, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, “‘The legislation imposes decisions’; laws about eugenics in China,” UNESCO Courier, 1 September 1999; Tracey Elizabeth, “When scientists from all over the world gathered in Beijing to discuss genetics, China’s mother and child law came under fire; Roots of a controversy,” South China Morning Post, 16 August 1998.
7. Letter from 55 members of Congress to President George W. Bush, 31 January 2002.
8. House Committee on International Relations, 6 February 2002.
10. “Beijing furious . . .,” Damien McElroy, London Telegraph, 3 February 2002.