Friday, September 02, 2011

China - the Sleeping Giant Starts to Awaken! (Part 3)

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A woman cycles pass a billboard encouraging couples to have only one child, along a road leading to a village in the suburb of Beijing, 25 March 2001. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)
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China’s Harsh Enforcement of One-Child Policy
Congressional hearing finds tragedy and ominous signs in China’s one-child policy
By Gary Feuerberg, Epoch Times Staff
Sep 27, 2011
WASHINGTON—Pregnant women lacking birth permits are hunted down like criminals by population planning police in China and forcibly aborted. The degree of monitoring and coercion of ordinary women in their reproductive lives in communist China is shocking to persons living in the free world. In a congressional hearing chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.4), Sept. 22, several victims of communist China’s one-child policy testified to their experiences of coercion and involuntary abortion.
“For over three decades, brothers and sisters have been illegal; a mother has absolutely no right to protect her unborn baby from state-sponsored violence,” said Rep. Smith, who in his 30-year congressional career has chaired 29 congressional human rights hearings focused in whole or in part on China’s one-child policy.
The policy was introduced in 1978, and Chinese authorities say it will remain in place until at least 2015, said Valerie Hudson, political science professor at Brigham Young University. The regime claims the policy has prevented 400 million births from 1979 to 2011.
Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, testified to 13 new cases of coercion in a report her organization released on the day of the hearing. Littlejohn described cases of forced abortion (including one woman at eight months and another carrying twins at eight and a half months), forced sterilization, forced contraception, the use of abortion and sterilization quotas, family planning jail cells, the demolition of homes (even for missing a pregnancy check), and he use of collective punishment by demolishing homes and fining relatives of the “violators.”
State Surveillance
The close monitoring of the Family Planning Commission could be seen in the testimony of Ping Liu. In the 1980s, the practice was to have an intrauterine device (IUD) implanted after giving birth to one’s first child. But because Liu had swelling in her right kidney, the doctors did not implant the IUD; instead they said that she should use other contraceptive methods.
“Without the IUD, I became the prime target for surveillance by the factory’s Family Planning Commission,” she said. In the factory where she worked, workers monitored each other, and were suspicious and hostile to each other because of the threat of collective punishment. Two of her pregnancies were reported by her colleagues to the Family Planning Commission.
“When discovered, pregnant women would be dragged to undergo forced abortions—there simply was no other choice. We had no dignity as potential child-bearers.”
iu said that every month during their menstrual period, women had to undress in front of the birth-planning doctor for examination. "We were allowed to collect a salary only after it was confirmed that we were not pregnant,” she said.
From 1983 to 1990, because of the one-child policy, Liu was forced to have five abortions.
Ling Chai personally testified to the situation of being pregnant and not married. She said China’s one-child policy is a “one-child per couple” policy. “It is the ‘all other children must die’ policy,” she said. The policy means most married couples will not be allowed to have more than one child and unmarried women are not allowed to have babies at all. She told how she, unmarried, became pregnant at age 18, and had no choice but to abort; in her second pregnancy she was forced to abort a second time.
In her third pregnancy, she and her boyfriend wanted to get married, but in China, that didn’t help save her child. In order to marry, the combined age of a couple must be 48.
Even if they could wed, without a birth permit, no baby was allowed, she said.
Chai’s fourth abortion shows an insidious side of the one-child policy. Chai was in Paris, and no longer faced the threat of the state’s forced abortion policy. She was married and no longer had to hide the pregnancy in shame. “Still I carried the mindset of China that abortion was the right choice if the circumstances made keeping the baby difficult,“ Chai said.
Threats Didn’t Stop Couple
Witness Yeqing Ji had one daughter and wanted very much to have a second child. Pressure also came from the husband's family that strongly desired a son. After the birth of her daughter, she agreed to the Planning Commission to get the IUD, but she never did.
She learned at her gynecological clinic that she was pregnant. The next day, four agents from the Planning Commission visited Ji and told her she had to get an abortion. Otherwise, the couple would we fined 200,000 yuan ($31,300), which was more than three times their combined annual income. In addition, they also would be fired from their jobs. “We were very afraid at the time about losing our jobs,” and could not pay the exorbitant fee. So, she underwent an abortion.
The next time she learned she was pregnant, five planning commission agents soon came to her home, but this time she told them they were determined to have the child and would pay the fine. However, she was told the second child was forbidden.
Ji said, "Even if it was born, the child could not be registered and would not be able to attend school. More than the fines, we would be fired from our jobs with a child that would never be registered by the census. But this time we were not afraid. We were willing to take the punishment of fines and losing our jobs. It wasn’t as important to us as our child."
Ji’s husband could not stop the agents from dragging his wife away and the abortion forced upon her. “After the abortion, I felt empty, as if something was scooped out of me. My husband and I had been so excited for our new baby. Now, suddenly, all that hope and joy and excitement had disappeared, all in an instant.”
Missing Girls and ‘Bare Branches'
China’s one-child policy is having serious demographic and social consequences. Limiting most couples to one child means there are relatively fewer youth and more aged. Dr. Hudson drew on a study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies that found the ratio of working age adults (15-59) to the elderly (60 and above) was declining, resulting in fewer workers to support the old. In 1980, the ratio was 7.7 adults to one elderly person. In 2010, the ratio is 5.4 and by 2030, it is projected to be 2.5.
Because of a traditional preference for boys in China, the one-child policy has led to “gendercide” of girls. This fact can be inferred from the lopsided sex ratios in China.
“The Chinese government states that its birth sex ratio is slightly over 118 (2010 census results), though some Chinese scholars have gone on record as stating the birth sex ratio is at least 121-122,” said Dr. Hudson, who noted that the birth sex ratios for the rest of the world (excluding Oceania) range from 103.1 (Europe) to 99.5 (Africa).
Not only China, but India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Taiwan, and South Korea show a gender imbalance caused by a preference for males and “a devaluation of female life,” said Hudson.
“There are at least 90 million missing women in Asia, and over 10 percent of young adult men in these nations will be hard pressed to form traditional families of their own,“ Hudson said.
“For every daughter culled from the population, a son will become 'surplus'—or in colloquial Chinese, a ‘bare branch’ on the family tree. Our estimates are that by the year 2020, young adult bare branches (ages 15-34) will number approximately 23 million–25 million in China alone, which constitutes 13 percent of this young adult male population.”
Unattached young adult males are much more likely to engage in anti-social behavior than married young adult males. As the population of unattached males increases, China will be confronted with increases in crime, violent crime, crimes against women, vice, substance abuse, and the formation of gangs, Hudson said.
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China announces plans to boost secret detention powers
By Chris Buckley
Reuters
Tue, 30 Aug, 2011
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/china-announces-plans-boost-secret-detention-powers-133511660.html
BEIJING (Reuters) - China wants to cement in law police powers to hold dissidents and other suspects of state security crimes in secret locations without telling their families, under draft legislation released on Tuesday that has been decried by rights advocates.
The critics said the proposed amendments to China's Criminal Procedure Code could embolden authorities to go further with the kind of shadowy detentions that swept up human rights lawyers, veteran protesters and the prominent artist-dissident, Ai Weiwei, earlier this year.
"If this was already law, then people like me, Ai Weiwei and many others could have been detained with even fewer problems and obstacles and with a firmer legal basis," said Jiang Tianyong, a lawyer in Beijing.
Jiang was detained for two months without any contact with his family earlier this year, when the government cracked down on dissent over fears that unrest in the Arab world could spill into China.
"This would be a big step backwards, but I wouldn't discount the strong possibility of it becoming law," added Jiang. "More people would face the risk of being disappeared."
Ai Weiwei, whose detention sparked an international outcry, said in a commentary published on Sunday that "the worst thing about Beijing is that you can never trust the judicial system."
Crime suspects and defendants detained under "residential surveillance" should usually be held in their own homes, says the proposed law released by China's National People's Congress, the Communist Party-controlled parliament. But politically sensitive crimes can be treated differently.
"Those suspected of committing state security crimes, terrorist crimes and major bribery crimes" can be held at locations outside usual detention centers, says the draft released on the parliament's website (www.npc.gov.cn).
Likewise, the families of ordinary suspects and defendants held under "residential surveillance" should be notified of their status within 24 hours. But in state security and other sensitive cases, police do not have to tell the families "if notification could hinder investigations," says the draft.
In China, "state security crimes" include subversion and other charges often used to punish dissidents who challenge the ruling Communist Party.
China's police already have broad powers to hold people, and the party-controlled courts rarely challenge how those powers are exercised. But critics said the amendment would add an extra veneer of legitimacy to arbitrary powers.
"This is in complete contravention of international standards. One of the key principles of international human rights law is deprivation of freedom can only take place if it has been decided by the court," said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher on China for Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group based in New York.
The Chinese government appeared to be bristling at the uproar triggered by its secretive detention of Ai Weiwei and other dissidents, said Bequelin, who was interviewed before the full draft of the proposed amendments was issued.
"The response is not to be more respectful of the law, but simply to change the law and remove the protections that were there," he said.
China's parliament said citizens were welcome to comment until the end of September on the proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code before lawmakers take them up. The country's state-run news agency said the rules on residential surveillance were enlightened.
The draft amendment "will further help protect human rights, and conforms rather than contradicts international conventions," the Xinhua news agency said, citing several Chinese legal scholars.
The clauses authorizing police not to tell families where detainees are held "are an exception, and will not become regular," Song Yinghui, a law professor at Beijing Normal University told Xinhua.
But independent Chinese rights advocates said the amendment would mark a big setback for legal rights if it passed into law under parliamentary approval.
In principle, residential surveillance is a more humane kind of detention, allowing suspects and defendants to stay with their families, said Li Fangping, a Beijing lawyer who has defended dissidents and protesters.
In practice, he and other critics said, it is used as a pretext to spirit detainees away to informal detention sites, including hotels, without telling their families or lawyers.
"If you can hold someone somewhere without effective means of oversight, without allowing detainees to see lawyers, then their rights guarantees face dreadful prospects," said Li.
Some lawyers said the proposed amendment was likely to become law, despite the controversy that has spilled onto China's Internet; others said the amendment could be diluted or even dropped. All were unsure when the parliament would next consider the amendments.
"This is going to be controversial, because it marks an excessive expansion of police powers," said Li. "I don't know if opposing this can work, but we'll certainly try."
(Additional reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Brian Rhoads and Nick Macfie)
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Letter to the Editor: Obama silent on China’s human rights abuses
The Washington Times
Friday, April 8, 2011
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has joined scores of other dissidents who have simply disappeared ("Artist silenced in 'New China,' " Web, Thursday).
While British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Germany Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle have called for his immediate release, there is little evidence to suggest that Washington is outraged over the incident. If anything, the insipid response of the Department of State would suggest quite the opposite.
Writing in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed before his detainment by Chinese authorities, Mr. Ai said: "Most discouraging to those of us who are fighting for increased freedom is the tendency for developed nations to lower the bar to please China. They make excuses not to concern themselves with violations of human rights. To espouse universal values and then blind oneself to China's active hostility to those values is irresponsible and naive."
It is clear that the current administration in Washington has played down human rights issues. The recent visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to the White House revealed little evidence that the plight of the Chinese dissidents was of any significance in President Obama's discussions with his Chinese counterpart. In Washington, it is simply 'business as usual' without regard to the consequences that have befallen Mr. Ai and his compatriots, whose only "crime" is exercising their rights to free speech.
Brian Stuckey
Denver, Colo.
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China sends fisheries vessel to disputed waters
Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Ed Lane
Reuters
Fri Sep 2, 2011
China dispatched a fishing enforcement ship to the disputed Paracel Islands, an agency under the country's farm ministry said, in a move likely to fuel tension with rival claimant Vietnam days before a senior Chinese official visits Hanoi.
A 400-ton vessel left China's southern city of Guangzhou and headed for the islands in the South China Sea, the ministry of agriculture said on Wednesday on the Guangdong province Fisheries Administration Bureau website (www.nhyzchina.gov.cn).
"This will further strengthen law enforcement efforts of the fisheries in the Paracel Islands, protect the production order of the fisheries and the safety of fishermen, and effectively safeguard China's maritime sovereignty and fisheries interests," Guo Jinfu, the bureau's deputy secretary, said.
The deployment of the ship, the No. 306, comes as China's top diplomat, State Councilor Dai Bingguo, prepares to visit Vietnam starting on Monday.
Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all claim some island territories in the South China Sea.
China's claim cover the largest area and includes the Paracel area, composed of uninhabitable small islands, rich fishing grounds and thought to hold significant oil and gas deposits.
"This indicates China has already established the capability of around-the-clock fisheries legal enforcement in and around the Paracel Islands maritime region," China's official Xinhua news agency said on Friday.
Tensions over the contested South China Sea flared in June, setting China against Vietnam and the Philippines, with China's recent military build-up triggering regional jitters that have fed into disputes.
On Friday, Philippines President Benigno Aquino ends a four-day trip to China where he met with Chinese President Hu Jintao earlier in the week. Both sought to cast aside months of hostility over territorial wrangling.
Hu told Aquino that the South China Sea issue should be resolved peacefully through negotiation. Aquino said later that the two had agreed on the need for a binding code of conduct in the area.
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Also See:
China - the Sleeping Giant Starts to Awaken! (Part 1)
08 June 2008
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2008/06/china-sleeping-giant.html
and
China - the Sleeping Giant Starts to Awaken! (Part 2)
15 May 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/05/china-sleeping-giant-starts-to-awaken.html
and
How Long Before China Crushes Taiwan?
17 December 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/12/2010-year-of-severe-economic.html
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