Despite some changes, China's one-child family planning program remains a source of coercion, forced abortions, infanticide and perilously imbalanced boy-girl ratios, US State Department officials said. \nTestimony before the US House International Relations Committee on Tuesday focused on a Shanghai woman who, since her second pregnancy in the late 1980s, has been assigned to psychiatric wards, coerced into an abortion, and removed from her job. She is reportedly subject to torture in a labor camp. \nMao Hengfeng, said US Con-gressman Christopher Smith, "is the most egregious example of China's mistreatment of women who do not comply with China's draconian policies, but there are thousands of other victims." \nChina in the 1970s launched a one-child policy to slow the growth of its population, now at 1.3 billion. Couples who have unsanctioned children have been subject to heavy fines, job losses and forced sterilization. \nThere have been some modifications, allowing second children for ethnic populations and rural families whose first child is a girl. In 2002, under strong US pressure, Beijing enacted a law aimed at standardizing birth-control policies and reducing corruption and coercion. \nArthur Dewey, the US State Department assistant secretary for population, refugees and migration, said there were some encouraging signs that China "may be beginning to understand that its coercive birth-planning regime has had extremely negative social, economic and human rights consequences for the nation." \nDewey added, however, that "China's birth-planning law and policies retain harshly coercive elements in law and practice." \nAmong those effects have been female infanticide in rural areas where there is a strong desire for male heirs, imbalances in the sex ratio that has been estimated to be as much as 122 boys for every 100 girls, soaring rates of female suicide, and human trafficking. \n"The one-child policy is the most pervasive source of human-rights violations in China today," said Harry Wu, a human-rights activist who spent 19 years in the Chinese labor camp system. \nWu cited a 2003 document from an area of southern Guangdong Province where party secretaries and village heads were told their salaries would be cut in half if, in a 35-day period, they did not reach a goal of sterilizing 1,369 people, fitting 818 with IUDs and carrying out 163 abortions. \nThe case of Mao, said Michael Kozak, the State Department's acting assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labor, highlights four serious abuses in the Chinese system: Coercive family planning, continued use of "re-education through labor" camps, forced incarceration in psychiatric hospitals and torture. \n"Mao's case is an example of what can and does go wrong in China," Kozak said. \nMao, who had twins in 1987, was confined to a psychiatric ward for six days in 1989 after another pregnancy sparked a fight with her work unit. She was fired from her job after protesting her treatment despite agreeing to abort another pregnancy, was sent back to a psychiatric hospital where she said she was tortured, and last April was given an 18-month sentence in a labor camp. \nSmith, a leading critic of China's human rights and abortion record, said he was "very fearful that the torture may lead to her death." \nUS President George W. Bush's administration, in addition to pressing the Chinese on human-rights issues, has for the last three years barred US funds for the UN Population Fund, charging that the UNFPA's support of China's population planning programs allows China to implement its policies of coercive abortion.
921 EARTHQUAKE: The magnitude 7.3 quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged The Central Weather Bureau yesterday received about 50,000 views on Facebook after it posted the data that it collected on Sept. 21, 1999, when the nation was devastated by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. The data showed that the 921 Earthquake hit the nation at 1:47am, with the epicenter being 7km southwest of the bureau’s quake detection center in Nantou County’s Yuchi Township (魚池) at a depth of 8km. The quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged, with the cost of the damage estimated at NT$300 billion (US$10.8 billion at the current
British newspaper The Mail on Sunday reported that Prince Charles met with Bruno Wang (汪家興), a Taiwanese fugitive who describes himself as a Chinese philanthropist and donated ￡500,000 (US$683,522) to the prince’s charity, the Prince’s Foundation. The newspaper reported that Wang is wanted in Taiwan on charges related to money laundering and being a fugitive from justice, allegations he denies, and drew comparisons between Wang and the Russian banker Dmitry Leus. Investigation and cooperation with foreign authorities have found that Bruno Wang’s father, Andrew Wang (汪傳浦), had stashed proceeds from a scandal involving the procurement of Lafayette frigates in 61 bank accounts,
AT ODDS: The KMT called on the government to seek bilateral dialogue with Beijing to resolve the issue that led to the ban on custard apple and wax apple imports Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and lawmakers yesterday condemned China’s sudden ban on imports of custard apples and wax apples from Taiwan as “obvious political retaliation,” while the opposition called for a scientific investigation into Beijing’s claim to have found pests in imports of the fruits. China earlier yesterday announced a ban on the importation of the two fruits from today, citing repeated discoveries of Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug. The announcement follows a similar ban on Taiwanese pineapples imposed in February. At least Beijing gave a few days’ notice when it banned pineapple imports, an unnamed government official said yesterday. This time
BY OTHER MEANS: China could see CPTPP membership as a means of circumventing trade restrictions imposed by the US, amid an ongoing trade dispute between them The US could invoke a clause in its trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to block China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a government official said yesterday. Under Article 32.10 of the Exceptions and General Provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), if either Canada or Mexico enter a free-trade agreement with a nonmarket economy — such as China — the US could withdraw from the agreement. “If that clause applies to multilateral free-trade agreements such as the CPTPP — which Mexico and Canada are members of — that might be cause for the two