Holy Hormones Journal: Personally, I care less about the guy who fathered seven children than what is happening to baby girls in China. According to the ‘It’s a Girl Documentary – every year there are more infant girls killed in China than are born in the U.S. That alone is horrific. But to have Village Family Planning officers charting women’s menstrual cycles and conducting pelvic exams against their will is another form of legalized rape on women. And if found to be pregnant to be forced into an abortion or even sterilization? Ma Jian is right – China’s one-child policy is among the worst crimes against humanity. Can you imagine how psychologically damaged these women are?
China’s one-child policy among worst crimes against humanity
Ma Jian, May 28, 2013, NYT :
Zhang Yimou, the celebrated film director and arranger of the 2008 Summer Olympics’ opening ceremony in Beijing, was accused last week of being the latest high-profile violator of China’s one-child policy. The People’s Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece, alleged that Zhang had fathered seven children with four different women.
The news has ignited an angry online debate, with Internet users condemning the unequal application of a 1979 law that stipulates every couple may have just one child (or two for ethnic minorities and for rural couples whose first child is a girl). The truth is: for the rich, the law is a paper tiger, easily circumvented by paying a “social compensation fee” — a fine of 3 to 10 times a household’s annual income, set by each province’s family planning bureau, or by travelling to Hong Kong, Singapore or even America to give birth.
For the poor, however, the policy is a flesh-and-blood tiger with claws and fangs. In the countryside, where the need for extra hands to help in the fields and the deeply entrenched patriarchal desire for a male heir have created strong resistance to population control measures, the tiger has been merciless. Village family-planning officers vigilantly chart the menstrual cycle and pelvic-exam results of every woman of childbearing age in their area. If a woman gets pregnant without permission and is unable to pay the often exorbitant fine for violating the policy, she risks being subjected to a forced abortion.
According to Chinese Health Ministry data released in March, 336 million abortions and 222 million sterilisations have been carried out since 1971. (Though the one-child policy was introduced in 1979, other, less-stringent family planning policies were in place before it.)
These figures are easy to quote, but they fail to convey the magnitude of the horror faced by rural Chinese women. During a long journey through the hinterlands of southwest China in 2009, I was able to find some of the faces behind these numbers.
On ramshackle barges moored on the remote waterways of Hubei and Guangxi, I met hundreds of “family-planning fugitives” — couples who’d fled their villages to give birth to an unauthorised second or third child in neighbouring provinces.