Thu, Nov 19, 2009 - Page 8 News List

One-child policy a rights disaster

By Chris Smith

The message is unmistakable. Former longtime Chinese political prisoner and now activist Harry Wu (吳弘達) showed the commission photographs of banners hung across village streets: “Resistance to IUD [intrauterine device] insertion, sterilization and paying fines will cause the total destruction of your home and property! Destroy! Destroy! Destroy!” and “Resistance to sterilization will bring you nothing but detention; refusal to abort will lead to the destruction of your house and confiscation of your cattle.”

This policy affects every Chinese woman’s life. It invades her privacy, colors her experience of intimacy and motherhood with a sense of fear, humiliation, and powerlessness, and traumatizes her. As WRIC reported, family planning cadres require all women to maintain menstrual records and report every four months for crude breast-­uterine-labial checks — called “the three examinations.” The cadres are looking for indications of pregnancy or miscarriage, or removal of contraceptive rings — a serious crime. There are women who have removed their IUD rings living on boats in the Guangxi River, like hoboes or escaped criminals.

Thus the WHO reports more than 500 female suicides per day in China. It is the only country in the world where the female suicide rate is higher than the male — and it is three times higher.

“When I was writing this short testimony, several times I cried out,” Wujian said.

And so I — we — appeal to Obama: Seriously raise the plight of Chinese women who are every day cruelly and systematically assaulted by population control police. China’s population control policy is violence against women and violence against children — by the hundreds of millions. It is the worst violation of women’s rights in human history.

Chris Smith is serving his 29th year in the US House of Representatives and specializes in human rights issues. On Tuesday he chaired a hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

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