A Demographic Disaster | Michael J. Miller, for Catholic World Report | July 2010
On April 24, 2010, the Associated Press reported that in 2009 the Chinese government commissioned a study of the possible effects of discontinuing or “refining” its one-child policy. The article cites Zheng Zhenzhen, who conducted the study and wrote in the November 2009 issue of Asian Population Studies, “Government control is no longer necessary to maintain low fertility. A carefully planned relaxation of the birth-control policy in China is unlikely to lead to an unwanted baby boom.” It also quotes Xie Zhenming, from the Association of Chinese Population, who anticipates gradual changes in family-planning laws over the next five years.
The AP article was published toward the end of a 20-day campaign, in heavily populated Puning County in Guangdong Province, to sterilize men and women who were accused of violating national birth control policies. In the village of Daba, a physician boasted that his surgical team was working non-stop from 8:00 in the morning to 4:00 AM the following day. On April 12, the fifth day, Puning officials announced that they were already halfway to their goal of 10,000 sterilizations.
The recent campaign in Puning, during which thousands of Chinese citizens were driven like livestock into family planning centers, was no anomaly. In Shandong, 7,000 women were sterilized by force in 2005, and Chen Guangcheng, a lawyer, spent years in prison for denouncing the involuntary surgical procedures.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), addressing the 37th Annual National Right to Life Convention in June 2009, declared that “China’s one-child-per-couple policy relies on coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, ruinous fines in amounts up to 10 times the salary of both parents, imprisonment, and job loss or demotion to achieve its quotas.” This indictment was substantiated years ago in on-the-ground investigative reports by Population Research Institute.
PRI president Steven W. Mosher demonstrates in Population
Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits (2008), that “the Chinese
program remains highly coercive not because of local deviations from
central policies but as a direct, inevitable, and intentional
consequence of those policies.” He lists the essential components of
China’s population control program: targets and quotas, bribes and
punishments, organizational structures, and promotional propaganda.
“Targets and quotas, it should be noted, were banned by the 1994 Cairo
population conference on the grounds that they always led to
abuses, but this prohibition has been largely ignored by officials who
claim that the numbers are only used for ‘planning purposes.’”
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