Under fire from angry Republicans, US Vice President Joe Biden’s office said on Tuesday that he firmly opposes “repugnant” Chinese population control practices like “forced abortion and sterilization.”
“The [US President Barack] Obama administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization,” Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said by e-mail.
“The vice president believes such practices are repugnant,” she said after Republican White House candidates blasted Biden for recent comments he made about Beijing’s “one-child” population control policy during a visit to China.
Biden told an audience at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, on Sunday that “your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family.”
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, a leading candidate for the Republican nod to take on Obama in November elections next year, on Tuesday accused Biden of “condoning” a “gruesome and barbaric” policy.
“There can be no defense of a government that engages in compulsory sterilization and forced abortions in the name of population control,” he said, charging that Biden’s comments “should shock the conscience of every American.”
Barkoff said that Biden, who was discussing the ratio of active workers to retirees, had also called the policy “unsustainable” and said “he was arguing against the one-child policy to a Chinese audience.”
However, Texas governor and Romney rival Rick Perry charged that Biden’s “refusal to ‘second-guess’ this horrendous policy demonstrates great moral indifference on the part of the Obama administration.”
“Americans value life, and we deserve leaders who will stand up against such inhumanity, not cast a blind eye,” Perry said.
The comments came one day after Republican House Speaker John Boehner, the No. 3 US elected official, said he was “deeply troubled” by Biden’s words and that the policy “should not be condoned by any American official.”
The speaker urged the White House to provide “a correction or clarification” to Biden’s comments.
The US vice president’s statement also drew fire from a leader of the repressed Tiananmen Square protests, Chai Ling (柴玲), who has become a born-again Christian and activist against the “one-child” policy.
“At best, it is a statement of ambiguity that gives permission to China to continue its brutal and coercive birth planning policy,” said a statement from her advocacy group, All Girls Allowed. “At worst, it is an endorsement of the exorbitant fines, severe beatings and forced abortions and sterilizations that are performed on thousands of Chinese families every day — an ongoing Tiananmen massacre every hour.”