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 it.
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.
The “Black” Children
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 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 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 officials can ensure that women have not removed IUDs in violation of policy, and the strict punishments which result from non-compliance with this coercive and inhumane policy.
Fines for Babies
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 years’ 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, 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.
Josephine Guy is the Director of Government Affairs for America 21.