Congressman Christopher H. Smith
Vice-Chairman, House International Relations Committee
October 18, 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.