6 May 2009 — Vol.12/No.14
Our own Colin Mason is back from China. His week-long undercover investigation of revealed fresh abuses in China’s One-Child policy and new proof of the U.N. Population Fund’s complicity in these abuses. Remember that the UNFPA has been in China since 1979(!), helping the Beijing authorities to implement their program. Colin visited three counties where the U.N. Population Fund claims to run “voluntary” family planning programs, and found that they were anything but.
What struck me about his investigation, as someone who has been following the policy for three decades, was how the fines for “illegal” children have been increased in recent years. The fines for having an illegal child are now three to five times the family’s income. The equivalent fine in the U.S. would be $150 to $250 thousand dollars. Couples have to mortgage their future for decades—literally—in order to be able to borrow enough money to pay off these fines. The government insists on calling this extortion “social compensation fees”—as if the parents were simply defraying the cost to society of another child—but in reality they are heavily punitive. Faced with the prospect of such a fine, many couples “voluntarily” submit to an abortion and sterilization.
What happens if you don’t pay the fine? In Guangxi province, what reportedly happens is that illegal newborns are taken into custody by government officials, who hold the infants until the parents are able to scrape together enough money to pay the huge fine. In other words, the babies are kidnapped and held for ransom! What happens if the parents can’t pay the fine? One can only imagine.
Colin’s findings are consistent with the results of earlier investigations carried out by PRI. In 2001, for example, PRI sent a team of investigators into China to look into the UNFPA’s “model family planning” program, specifically its claim that forced abortions and forced sterilizations are a thing of the past. While in country, we interviewed over two dozen victims and witnesses of coercion, videotaping and audiotaping their answers. Those interviewed stated that voluntary family planning does not exist in UNFPA’s “model” program and that forced abortions continue to occur.
Even the U.S. State Department, not known for its pro-life sentiments, concurred in 2002 that China’s heavy fines were coercive in nature, and that the UNFPA was complicit in this coercion. Presented with our evidence, President Bush did the sensible thing and withheld funding from the UNFPA for seven years, costing the rogue agency some $200 million.
Now along comes Obama. The new President pledged during the campaign to restore funding to the UNFPA. Then on March 11 he signed the 2009 omnibus spending bill, which includes $50 million for the UNFPA. Two weeks later the State Department announced the formal resumption of contributions to the UNFPA. And only a few days ago the U.S. Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton, remember her?) appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives and, in sworn testimony, praised the U.N. agency, now flush with U.S. cash.
Can the funding be cut off again, now that new evidence of the UNFPA’s complicity with coercion and kidnapping has come to light? Frankly, I don’t know. The anti-life mentality that pervades the new administration may prove impervious to both facts and reason. But we at PRI will continue to demand that Americans not be forced to fund these abuses.
Furthermore, we will continue to argue that forced abortion should not merely be anathema to pro-lifers. It should be rejected by those on the other side of the abortion debate as well. Human rights groups of all stripes should be urging President Obama to zero out all UNFPA funding. American tax dollars must not be used to fund an organization that violates the basic human rights of women around the world. And apparently condones kidnapping.
Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Population Control: Real Costs and Illusory Benefits (Transaction Books, 2008)