Demonstration against the one-child policy in China
The Chinese government introduced a one-child policy in 1979 to stop population growth. The policy is controversial both within and outside China because of the human rights issues it raises; because of the manner in which the policy has been implemented; and because of concerns about negative economic and social consequences.
The Economist reported in July 2011 that the policy was becoming more stringent:
BEFORE 1997 they usually punished us by tearing down our houses for breaching the one-child policy...After 2000 they began to confiscate our children." Thus Yuan Chaoren, a villager from Longhui county in Hunan province, describing in Caixin magazine the behaviour of family-planning bureaucrats. According to Caixin, local officials would take "illegal children" and pack them off to orphanages where they were put up for adoption. Foreign adoptive parents paid $3,000-5,000 per child. The bureaucrats collected a kickback.
On October 10th 2010, Xiao Aiying, who was eight months pregnant, was dragged from her home in Siming in southwest China and forced to have an abortion. This is a part of the debate on abortion that the media are largely silent about. Watch the two minute news report above by Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan.
Numerous atrocities have been reported in the Western and Chinese Press but the policy and its enforcement is allowed to continue. Read some of these examples below:
Mao Hengfeng shows some of the marks she received while being tortured by the Chinese authorities
Also, in October 2013, in an exclusive interview with ChinaAid.org, 31-year-old Li Fengfei relayed the horrifying story of her 13-day-long forced abortion at the hands of Chinese family planning officials. Li was newly pregnant with an unauthorized second child in her hometown of Qingmen, Qinsha county, in April when superiors at her job unlawfully framed her for embezzling money from the business.
In September 2015, it was reported that a 8-month pregnant mother was being forced to abort her baby. She spoke of her being pressured into an illegal late-term abortion so that her husband would not lose his job. The woman in question, known only by her surname Chen, already has an 11-year-old daughter. Under China's current version of the one child policy, she and her husband do not meet the criteria to have a second baby (both parents have to be only children themselves). If their second child is born, Chen's police officer husband would be sacked, in line with rules that specifically apply to public servants as upholders of Chinese law.
It is hard for persons in democratic societies to grasp how China's party-state can control the fertility of China's millions. The effort starts with a barrage of anti-child propaganda in the schools and workplaces, and then moves to open intimidation in banners and slogans posted in public places. Here are some pictures of the kind of public threats the authorities make against those women who may be pregnant with "illegal" children.
Translation: "If it should be aborted and is not aborted, your house will be destroyed and your cow will be taken."
Translation: "Even if you bleed enough to make a river, you must not give birth to an extra child!" Hunan Province.
该扎不扎， 关人作押， 该流不流， 折房牵牛。
Translation: "If you should get sterilized and you don’t, you will be detained and prosecuted. If you should abort and do not abort, your house will be torn down and your cattle will be led away."
Translation: "If you are supposed to wear an IUD but don't, or are supposed to have your tubes tied but don't, you will be arrested on sight!"
Translation: "Those of you who don't abort or get sterilized, and are happy to have excess births and pay fines. . . [image unclear]."
This kind of in-your-face propaganda, combined with strong-arm tactics on those who hold-out, brings most women to heel. Then there are group pressure tactics, used in Liaoning province in northeastern China and elsewhere. In these provinces, second births are allowed only if there no illegal births. If even one illegal child is born, no second births are allowed, and women carrying second children are aborted.
Thanks to Steve Mosher of the Population Research Institute for this information
Demographers are now concerned that the one child policy has so intensified the Chinese preference for a boy as to have seriously distorted the balance of the sexes in favour of males. The sex ratio at birth (between male and female births) in mainland China reached 117:100 in the year 2000, substantially higher than the natural baseline, which ranges between 103:100 and 107:100.
According to a report by the State Population and Family Planning Commission, there will be 30 million more men than women in 2020, potentially leading to social instability. The correlation between the increase of sex ratio disparity on birth and the deployment of one child policy would appear to have been caused by the one-child policy.
Chinese government posters promoting the one-child policy
A blind Chinese activist, who was freed from jail last year but remains under strict house arrest, was reportedly beaten senseless after releasing a video that documented his plight.
Watch this exclusive video which shows ill treatment and illegal detention of blind activist Chen Guangcheng, China Aid, 2/9/11
The Telegraph reported on the 4th August 2013, that the official news agency Xinhua said that the Family Planning Commission is studying proposals to lift the ban on a second child, if either parent is an only child. The body's spokesman said aim is to "improve" family policy, confirming leaks to Chinese newspapers that a major shift is in the works. The new rules are expected to come into force early next year, and may be extended to cover all families by 2015. The shift in policy may come too late to avert an ageing shock. The workforce shrank by 3m last year, an inflection point that has come sooner than expected.
The Women's Rights without frontiers have made a harrowing video on the plight of Chinese women who violate the one-child policy. Watch the video below and check out their on-line petitions.