Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Connections: A look at How China's One Child Policy Spawns Other Human Right's Abuses

When I talk about China's One Child Policy, I think of women's rights being taken from them in the form of forced contraception, forced sterilization, and forced abortion. Listening to the House Subcommittee's witness testimony, I've learned that most human right's abuses in China are related. The one-child policy spawns other abuses. These happenings aren't isolated. So I'd like to talk about them.

Forced Prostitution and the Buying and Selling of Brides
Because of China's one-child policy, couples (single women cannot have children) will sometimes pay doctors to find out the sex of their child in advance of birth. It's illegal in China to tell couples the gender of their child. In Chinese culture, boys are revered. Since a couple can only afford one child, couples usually want a boy. There's stigma and shame if their child turns out to be a girl. Therefore, baby girls are aborted. If they are not, a number of parents will discard their baby girls where they are found (if lucky) by aid workers and sent to orphanages. These are legal pregnancies, meaning the parents received a permit for pregnancy. (Can you imagine having to ask the government for permission to have a child?) And then the parents discard their girls simply because they are girls.

So as you well imagine, China has a large population of men. This has led to two problems. Both are linked. The first is forced prostitution. Women from neighboring countries are kidnapped and brought to China against their will to be prostitutes.

The second repercussion is the buying and selling of brides. Women from neighboring countries are being sold to Chinese men (against their will) to be brides.

And something that is recently on the rise is what they call "little daughter-in-laws." Families with a boy will find a family with a girl at very young ages (2 or 3). They will buy the "little daughter-in-law" and raise her to marry their son. This is similar to arranged marriages except usually those girls remain with their families. In this case, the girls are bought and raised solely to be the wife of the son.

As you can see, China's one child policy has global repercussions. It's affecting women's rights in other countries.

It's recently come to light, according to a panelist, that adoption is turning into a money making scheme. Chinese officials are stealing children, mostly illegal but also legal, from their parents to earn a profit. Orphanages give the officials a kick-back for every child handed over. Then these children are "sold" to adoptive parents, some in the United States, for 3 grand. In other words, some American parents may find out that their Chinese child had a family who wanted them back home.

This has a lot of problems especially when a child becomes old enough to search for their birth family. One of the panelists, who normally promotes adoption of Chinese children, is so concerned that the practice is becoming rampant that he told the committee that it may be time to put a "moratorium on adoptions."

There are a number of other connections that the panelists spoke about including how Chinese policies do affect American businesses and vise verse. I'll probably talk about that later. But I'll leave you with this loose quote/paraphrase that the chairmen of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Health, and Human Right's said "More trade has not ended dictatorship in China. We need more penalties. We need to hold countries in account of their actions."

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