BEIJING, November 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the nation was liberalizing its infamous one-child policy on Friday, but critics say the new policy will continue all the abuses of the existing population control regime.
The one-child policy had already allowed couples comprised of two only-children to have a second child. Under the new policy – released during the Third Plenum Session meeting of the Party’s 18th Central Committee – Chinese couples will be permitted to have a second child even if just one of the parents is an only child.
Human rights advocates say the marginally more permissive rules merely tweak an unacceptably oppressive and brutal policy.
“The problem with the One Child Policy is not the number of children 'allowed.' Rather, it is the fact that the CCP is telling women how many children they can have and then enforcing that limit through forced abortion, forced sterilization and infanticide,” said Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.
“Regardless of the number of children allowed, women who get pregnant without permission will still be dragged out of their homes, strapped down to tables and forced to abort babies that they want, even up to the ninth month of pregnancy.”
Government force and the cultural forces that lead to gendercide will continue apace, she said.
Bob Fu, the founder of ChinaAid, agreed that the weekend announcement “still clearly says China will continue to carry out a statewide family/birth planning policy. So, the whole coercive system is still unchanged.”
“Unless the whole family planning system is abolished, Chinese women and men will continue to suffer the cruelty of the forced abortion and forced sterilization,” Fu said.
Chinese officials say the restrictive reproductive policy, which was instituted in 1979, has prevented the birth of 400 million people. Authorities say they have performed 336 million abortions; many of those were forced abortions.
The policy reduced the nation's birthrate from nearly five children per couple to 1.55, and falling, which has led to a dramatic gender imbalance in the process. An estimated 37 million Chinese men have no mates, leading to an increase in human trafficking.
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The Chinese watchdog All Girls Allowed pointed to other egregious human righs abuses contained in the policy. “What about the mother who cannot obtain a birth permit simply because she is unmarried? In June, the world watched the dramatic rescue of the 'sewer baby,' whose mother was unmarried and gave birth in a toilet for fear of the authorities. Or what about the families that are eligible to have a second child, but get pregnant too soon? Under current law, many couples must wait at least four years to have another child. The restrictions are oppressive and unnecessary.”
“This foolish and cruel policy should have been abolished in its entirety yesterday, not merely tweaked today,” the group said on Friday.
Economists have been warning that the coming baby bust will blunt the nation's economic growth, warnings that were reportedly behind Friday's change. But few expect the new policy to swell the population markedly in the near term.
Li Jianmin, a population professor at Nankai University, told The Washington Post, “There could be a slight rise, but this policy will not cause a dramatic growth in the birth rate. A majority of only-child parents are living in the cities, where the cost of raising a child is very high, and many young parents cannot afford to have a second child.”
Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch said Beijing's Communist officials were “just tinkering” when “the whole system needs to be dismantled.”
All Girls Allowed asked China's senior leadership “to listen both to wisdom and to the cries of your people. Most importantly, we implore you to heed the commands of God, who blessed mankind and commanded them to 'be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.'” (Genesis 1:28)”
Reggie Littlejohn of WRWF appealed to those of every persuasion to maintain pressure for the abolition of Chinese population control policies, backed by forced sterilizations and abortions. “It does not matter whether you are pro-life or pro-choice on this issue,” she said. “No one supports forced abortion, because it is not a choice” – even when its terms are liberalized.