WASHINGTON, D.C., August 26, 2011 ( – Human rights leaders are questioning Vice President Joe Biden’s backpedaling on his recent dismissive remarks about China’s one-child policy, pointing out not only that he has been briefed on the brutal methods that the country uses to enforce the policy, but that his administration chose to fund a major collaborator in the forced-abortion policy to the tune of millions of dollars.

“Your policy has been one which I fully understand—I’m not second-guessing—of one child per family,” VP Joe Biden told an audience this weekend at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, before going on to criticize the policy in economic terms.

But after a rash of criticism from GOP leaders and international human rights leaders alike, a Biden spokesperson stated that the vice president considers the coercive policy “repugnant,” and that the administration shares the sentiment. “The Obama administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization,” spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff told AFP.

Biden claimed he made his moral position against the policy clear in other conversations during the China visit, and brushed off the criticism as “predictable” political attacks, according to the Los Angeles Times.

But one human rights leader, who has personally witnessed forced abortions in China and spoken with Biden himself on the issue, isn’t buying the administration’s excuse.


“I know that Joe Biden ‘fully understands’ how women are arrested for the ‘crime’ of being pregnant, how they are incarcerated and browbeaten for this ‘crime,’ and how they are forced to undergo abortions and sterilizations. I know because I told him so,” said Steve Mosher of the Population Research Institute (PRI) on Thursday.

“While serving as a Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on Broadcasting to China, I briefed then-Senator Biden on population control, Chinese style.”

Mosher accused Biden of “clearly pandering to his Chinese hosts” in brushing off the policy’s moral significance.

“This wasn’t ignorance and it wasn’t a gaffe. Biden wanted China’s communist leaders to know that he and the President he serves are more than willing to turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed in the name of the one-child policy,” he said.

The current administration has shown indifference to the issue before: one of Obama’s first actions as president was to reinstate $50 million in funding to a United Nations group that PRI’s on-the-ground investigations found complicit in China’s coercive population control tactics. The Bush administration had revoked the funding after a federal investigation confirmed the PRI findings.

Although PRI offered even more proof of complicity in 2009 and demanded an answer from Obama on the issue, the White House never commented on any of the investigations.

“Actions speak louder than words,” said Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, another China human rights advocacy group, following Biden’s response.

“If the Obama administration ‘strongly opposes’ forced abortion in China, then why did they restore funding to [the United Nations Population Fund]?”