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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 15, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The number of abortions committed in China each year is shockingly higher than what the government there has repeatedly claimed, a new report says, while forced abortion and sterilization continue and are on the rise.

China aborts 23 million unborn children annually, a massive increase of 10 million from the 13 million figure the Chinese government has been citing, according to a U.S. State Department report.

“13 million abortions a year was already an incomprehensible statistic,” said Women’s Rights Without Frontiers President Reggie Littlejohn. “But to add another 10 million is truly staggering, incomprehensibly tragic.”

The inconsistency stems from the fact that Chinese government figures are based on registered government institutions only, passing over unregistered clinics, a statement from Littlejohn’s group said. 

The State Department report released Tuesday states:

The National Health Population and Family Planning Commission reported that 13 million women annually terminated unplanned pregnancies. An official news media outlet also reported at least an additional 10 million chemically induced abortions were performed in nongovernment facilities. Government statistics on the percentage of all abortions that were nonelective was not available.

“23 million abortions a year comes to 63,013 abortions a day, 2625 abortions an hour, 43 per minute,” Littlejohn said.

“The population of the United States is about 320 million, with about 1 million abortions per year,” she said. “The population of China is almost 1.4 billion, with about 23 million abortions per year. Therefore, with four times the population of the United States, China has 23 times the number of abortions.”    

Despite the Chinese government having replaced its one-child policy with a two-child limit last year, coercive population control methods common in China, such as forced abortion, and sterilization, were still in force in 2015, the State Department also says, and further, in the last year these have also “markedly increased.”

Detailed among China’s human right abuses in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 is “a coercive birth-limitation policy that, despite the lifting of one-child-per-family restrictions, in some cases resulted in forced abortion (sometimes at advanced stages of pregnancy).”

“The country’s birth-limitation policies retained harshly coercive elements in law and practice,” the Report also stated, which detailed the Chinese government’s “intense pressure” on police to apply local birth-limitation quotas. 

Eighteen Chinese provinces have laws requiring abortion for illegal pregnancies, played down at times as “remedial measures,” and officials in the remaining 13 provinces were also found to have employed forced abortion to make birth limit quotas.

The link between police job promotion and achieving birth quotas “provided a powerful structural incentive for officials to employ coercive measures to meet population goals,” the Report states.

And it was affirmed that in almost all provinces, any woman who was pregnant out of wedlock was in violation of the law, and purported “social compensation fees” approaching ten times a person’s disposable income were also imposed as punishment under the government’s two-child policy.

The Report went on to detail examples of coercion by the Chinese government under the two-child policy, such as frequent cases of couples with two children having one member required to be sterilized, threats of being fired for refusal to abort a second child, and continuation of officially prohibited sex-selective abortion, in part because of the birth limit.

According to the Report, “female infanticide, gender-biased abortions, and the abandonment and neglect of baby girls remained problems due to the traditional preference for sons and the birth-limitation policy.”

Littlejohn, an activist against China’s forced abortion law, who has testified before Congress on the policy, said the Report shows how the human rights abuses had continued in China, and would persist under the two-child policy.

“This Report proves what advocates have been saying all along: coercion, forced abortion and involuntary sterilization continue unabated through 2015,” she said. “They will continue under the Two-Child Policy. Unmarried women and third children will still be forcibly aborted.”

“China’s new Policy is preserving a system of coercion, not ending it,” Littlejohn continued. “Coercion remains the core of the policy.”