Jeremy Kryn


31st anniversary of China one-child policy mourned with protests, vigils, Congressional hearing

Jeremy Kryn

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 26, 2011 ( – Protests and vigils, as well as a hearing before the U.S. House, marked the 31st anniversary of China’s one-child policy last week.

“Women bare the major brunt of the one child policy not only as mothers,” said Republican Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, who held the House hearing on Sept. 22. “Due to the male preference in China’s society and the limitation of the family size to one child, the policy has directly contributed to what is accurately described as gendercide—the deliberate extermination of a girl—born or unborn—simply because she happens to be female.”

The one-child policy, which limits Chinese families to having just one child, was established in 1980. Due to the Chinese preference for male children, sex-selective abortions, female infanticide and the abandonment of female children has become an integral part of Chinese culture over the last 31 years.

Before the one-child policy began, there were fewer than 5 million abortions per year in China, while today there are up to 23 million each year, according to the organization All Girls Allowed. China sees as many as 37,000 abortions a day under the population control policy, according to China’s National Family Planning Commission.

In 2008, a statement by the Chinese government ended speculation that they were planning on abandoning the program, which would have paved the way for more births in a country with a largely aging population. 

Between September 22-25, protestors at more than 200 U.S. universities and churches, including Harvard, Northeastern, and Notre Dame, hosted a nationwide vigil, “37 Seconds of Silence” to honor the 37 million girls missing, through infanticide, abortion, or abandonment, due to Chinese law. The event was organized by All Girls Allowed, whose founder Chai Ling is a by former student leader at Tiananmen Square and victim of the One-Child Policy.

Ling and two other victims of the One-Child Policy, Ping Liu and Ji Yeqing, as well as Women’s Rights Without Frontiers President Reggie Littlejohn and “Bare Branches” author Dr. Valerie Hudson, testified before the Sept. 22 hearing about China’s harsh population control program.

Littlejohn detailed various horror stories that have come out of China, including that of a couple brutally tortured for missing a pregnancy check by one day, a man whose head was smashed open and who is now permanently disabled because his wife had a second child, and a father who was beaten to death because his son was suspected of having a second child.

“We have chosen to release the names of the perpetrators of these Crimes Against Humanity, so that they can be held accountable before the world,” she said of the materials she provided Congress. “This report contains dozens of their names, as well as details of their crimes.”

The hearing came after a September 21 meeting with members of Congress at the Capitol, where a former health secretary in the Chinese government admitted the one-child policy has cost the nation as many as 400 million people. Through an interpreter, Gao Qiang said that China had prevented more births than the population of the United States, which currently stands at 312 million.

The hearing also came in the wake of Vice President Joe Biden’s widely reported, controversial comments during an official state visit to China last month. In remarks before a Chinese audience, Biden said he would not “second-guess” China’s coercive population control policy, although he said the scheme was not economically sustainable.

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