WASHINGTON (BP)--Congress heard testimony Nov. 10 regarding China's one-child policy, which employs widespread forced abortions and sterilization as population control methods, ahead of President Obama's trip to the communist nation.
Witnesses before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission noted that pregnancies in China must be authorized by the government. The hearing occurred two days before Obama left for Asia Nov. 12 to meet with Chinese officials.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of China's one-child policy, which was implemented to curb the birth rate of the world's most populous country. It limits women to one child, although exceptions are made, especially in some rural areas for couples whose first child is a girl. The policy has been enforced somewhat differently recently, the commission was told.
A measure codifying the policy, the Law of Population and Family Planning of the People's Republic of China, went into effect in 2002. The family planning officials "illegally" enforce the law through forced abortions and sterilizations, lawyer Jiang Tianyong said at the hearing. Jiang has been persecuted for defending human rights activists.
In its 2009 report issued in October, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China said, "'Termination of pregnancy' is explicitly required if a pregnancy does not conform with provincial population planning regulations in Anhui, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Hunan, Jilin, Liaoning and Ningxia provinces."
All couples are required to apply for a birth permit before a pregnancy. If a couple has an unauthorized pregnancy, it must be terminated. After having the limited number of children -- one in most areas -- a spouse must be sterilized. Refusal results in forced sterilization. If the couple has more than one child, the woman will be forced to have an abortion, Harry Wu, director of Laogai Research Foundation, said at the hearing.
Families that abide by the law and get abortions receive a "One Child Parent Glory" certificate, something the government is using to "beautify" the policy, Annie Jing Zhang of Women's Rights in China told the commission. Read More