Thwarts U.S. Fight Against China’s One-Child Policy, Activist
Feminist and human rights activist Nicole Kempton says the contentious
abortion debate in America partly explains why American leaders are
reluctant to denounce China’s “one child” population-control policy.
“It’s hard for any American administration to address the one-child
policy in China, number one, because when it’s talked about in this
country, it winds up being portrayed as part of the abortion debate,”
Kempton told CNSNews.com. Forced abortion and forced sterilization are
not a choice, she added.
Kempton is the Washington director of the Laogai Research Foundation,
which was founded in 1992 by a Chinese dissident to investigate and
document human rights abuses in China’s prison camps (laogai).
Kempton said environmentalists and zero-population-growth advocates
also share responsibility for discouraging American criticism of
China’s one-child policy. “There are people who don’t understand the
human consequences of the policy, who say that the world should have
the one-child policy, and we should be applauding China for their
draconian approach to population control,” Kempton said.
As CNSNews.com reported in December, even Chinese government officials
tout the “one child” policy as a successful way to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions that are blamed for global warming.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Copenhagen climate conference, Zhao
Baige, vice minister of China’s National Population and Family Planning
Commission, said developing countries should consider adopting similar
policies in the pursuit of “sustainable development.”
But according to Kempton, environmentalists may not realize the extent
of human rights violations China’s one-child policy engenders through
its institutionalized violence against women.
The United States also is reluctant to jeopardize its trade
relationship with China, Kempton said. “I think probably our economic
relationship probably does have something to do with it and probably is
the reason why we don’t speak out at a national level against the
CNSNews.com asked Kempton why feminist organizations such as National
Organization for Women (NOW) and Planned Parenthood Federation of
America (PPF) do not express more outrage about the oppression and
violence directed against women in China.
Kempton reiterated that objections to China’s one-child policy should
focus on human rights and should not be turned into an abortion debate.
“Personally, I am pro-choice, and I don’t know why these organizations
don’t get more involved in this issue. I mean, it is something that
affects one-fifth of the world’s women,” Kempton said.
“I would really like to see—particularly in the United States—I would
like to see us put aside our differences on pro-life or pro-choice and
just agree that this is not a choice and that we need to help the
Chinese women and speak out against the policy,” Kempton said.
CNSNews.com asked Kempton if she thought feminist organizations are
concerned about the selective abortion of female babies due to the
traditional Chinese preference for sons. Presently, men outnumber women
in China by 37 million.
Although Kempton said she could not speak for NOW or Planned
Parenthood, she speculated that in opposing all violence against women,
they would condemn brutality against “women who are trying to have
children or violence against baby girls.”
“I think that those organizations, they oppose violence against women
in any form, and this—the one child policy—whether it’s violence
against women who are trying to have children or violence against baby
girls and the gendercide that’s currently going on in China -- I would
assume that they would be against both of those,” Kempton said.
Kempton said one unintended consequence of the one-child policy is a
“tsunami of human trafficking” in Asia, where women and girls are
brought into China from North Korea, central Asia, Vietnam, Guyana, and
Eastern Europe to meet demand for brides.
In a Jan. 7 article posted on the liberal Huffington Post Web site,
Kempton praised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s commitment to “put
women and girls at the center of U.S. foreign policy.”
But, said Kempton, China’s one child-policy continues to fly in the
face of the 1994 Cairo conference, “which represented the first truly
global commitment to women's rights.”
China took part in the Cairo conference, but 15 years later its women
are still under threat from coercive population control, Kempton wrote.
She called it an “unprecedented State intrusion concerning women’s
Kempton urged Clinton to speak against China’s coercive population
control in her Jan. 8 address marking the 15-year anniversary of the
Cairo conference. Clinton, however, did not mention China or the
one-child policy in her Jan. 8 speech.
China instituted its one-child policy in 1979 in an attempt to boost
economic development by reducing the population burden to increase per
Contact: Karen Schuberg
March 16, 2010
to a friend.
The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in
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