Google+
Close

Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

China’s One Child Tyranny



Text  



The New York Times ran a powerful op/ed this week, written by a Chinese novelist, detailing the brutality of the the country’s one-child policy. From the piece by Ma Jian:

Village family-planning officers vigilantly chart the menstrual cycle and pelvic-exam results of every woman of childbearing age in their area. If a woman gets pregnant without permission and is unable to pay the often exorbitant fine for violating the policy, she risks being subjected to a forced abortion. According to Chinese Health Ministry data released in March, 336 million abortions and 222 million sterilizations have been carried out since 1971. (Though the one-child policy was introduced in 1979, other, less-stringent family planning policies were in place before it.)

These figures are easy to quote, but they fail to convey the magnitude of the horror faced by rural Chinese women. During a long journey through the hinterlands of southwest China in 2009, I was able to find some of the faces behind these numbers. On ramshackle barges moored on the remote waterways of Hubei and Guangxi, I met hundreds of “family-planning fugitives”– couples who’d fled their villages to give birth to an unauthorized second or third child in neighboring provinces. Almost every one of the pregnant women I spoke to had suffered a mandatory abortion. One woman told me how, when she was eight months pregnant with an illegal second child and was unable to pay the 20,000 yuan fine (about $3,200), family planning officers dragged her to the local clinic, bound her to a surgical table and injected a lethal drug into her abdomen…

It is not surprising that China has the highest rate of female suicide in the world. The one-child policy has reduced women to numbers, objects, a means of production; it has denied them control of their bodies and the basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children. Baby girls are also victims of the policy. Under family pressure to ensure that their only child is a son, women often choose to abort baby girls or discard them at birth, practices that have skewed China’s sex ratio to 118 boys for every 100 girls.

This should make China a pariah. But there’s money to be made and cheap labor aplenty.

We all participate whenever we buy goods made in China–which one is virtually forced to do these days. I’m not sure what we an do other than weave our own clothes and give up cell phones. And even then, we all buy things we don’t need because we want them. Guilty as charged!  But if I can buy something not made in China, I always do so even if it means a higher price. 

But that doesn’t excuse the Malthusian radical environmentalists and global warming hysterics who have urged that the West adopt such policies to “save the planet.” That is anti-human.



Text  


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review