LONDON, September 23, 2005 ( – On September 19, Time magazine ran a piece, titled, “Enemies of the State? How local officials in China launched a brutal campaign of forced abortions and sterilizations,” a topic that is largely taboo in abortion-supporting popular media.

Beginning with a graphic and horrifying account of a forced abortion by government population control officials, the Time piece confirmed in the mainstream media what pro-life activists have been trying for years to expose. China’s one-child population control policy has created a horrific environment of terror, violence and infanticide in which mothers must go underground or flee the country to save the lives of their unborn children.

While implying that without controls, China’s “over-population” problem could expand into a “Malthusian nightmare,” Time reported that despite legal reforms, the violence is still common. Drowning newborns, dragging unwilling women into abortion facilities, forcing sterilizations, jailing parents and beating their relatives to death, extorting exorbitant fees from peasants who want to give birth without being arrested, the piece implied, are still carried out under a government that often turns a blind eye.

The next day, an answering story appearing on the BBC’s online world news accepted the official Chinese government response on face value. The BBC reported without qualification, that “the (Chinese) government does not authorise health workers to carry out forced sterilisation and abortions.” This was quickly followed with the reminder that “China is the world’s most populous country, with a population of more than 1.3 billion people.”

The BBC dutifully provided the Chinese government’s assurance that “Some persons concerned in a few counties and townships of Linyi did commit practices that violated law and infringed upon legitimate rights and interests of citizens while conducting family planning work.”

Quoting China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission official statement, the BBC assures readers that the practices are “illegal” and makes no mention of the beatings, murders of relatives or drownings of infants that are still commonly included in reports by human rights activists. Many other news media also reported the Chinese response without questioning its validity. The Times of India story was healined “Red faces in China over forced abortion charges.” However, the red faces, according to those most familiar with the Chinese program, are more about being caught than about the government policy being in any way wrong.

Joseph D’Agostino, spokesman for the Population Research Institute, (PRI) told in an interview, that though it is now technically illegal in China to use physical force to abort or sterilize, there is more than one kind of coercion. “By ‘forced’ the government strictly means physical force. “But if you don’t have an abortion you have to pay the ‘social compensation fee’ which may be $50,000. Your husband might lose his job. You and your children might lose medical and education benefits. If you lose your job and can’t receive government assistance, that is a serious threat,” said D’Agostino.

PRI has worked for years to bring the horrors of China’s enforced population control methods to the eye of the public and of US officials. Its president, Stephen Mosher has been labeled a criminal and international spy because of the success of his work.

The fact that China is under scrutiny at the moment by the United Nations on the matter of its infamous human rights violations and that European Union member states are hesitant to continue arms sales to the communist country until the UN gives the official stamp of approval, escaped mention in the BBC report. Justice Louise Arbour, the pro-abortion and radical feminist Canadian judicial activist is reported by another BBC article as being “guardedly optimistic” about Chinese efforts to improve their human rights record.

International pressure is having an effect, says D’Agostino, but a longstanding pattern has seen token improvements in human rights end at the same time as the public scrutiny. “You see this pattern again and again. When they want something they make a few symbolic moves and then a year or two later they’re back to arresting people.”

The reality, said D’Agostino, is that sterilizations and abortions are forced if women have to have them to avoid paying a $50,000 fine or if her husband will lose his job. “It can be a matter of life and death. Coercion continues and it is still official. And obviously if financial or other incentives don’t work they resort to more brutal methods.”

D’Agostino said that the problem will continue as long as the government judges local officials according to the regional child quotas. “Those officials are going to resort to brutal methods, otherwise they lose their jobs. They get judged by how many children are born in their district.”

“And there would likely have been no official response at all if Time magazine had not produced that story.” D’Agostino said that the Time piece likely embarrassed the government. “As soon as that Time magazine piece appeared,” he said, “the government responded. And now they’ve got themselves some good publicity from the BBC.”

PRI head Stephen Mosher emphasized in a talk given recently in Toronto, that the Communist government is still firmly committed to reducing the country’s population to 600 million from its current 1.2 billion level by 2050. To accomplish that unimaginable reduction extreme measures will have to continue and even increase.

To top it off, said Mosher, the entire population reduction program was begun on the basis of a Chinese official’s naive acceptance of a phony doomsday report about China from the West and which he convinced the Communist Party leadership they had to act on in order to save the country. No one seriously tested the validity of the report. Mosher says that government officials are not willing to face the fact that the policy has been wrong from the beginning and has caused serious demographic problems which will in turn soon lead to severe economic problems for the nation.

Read Time Magazine’s article:,10987,1103579,00.html

Read the BBC coverage:

Read coverage of a talk by Stephen Mosher on China’s one-child policies:
  China Labels Stanford Researcher “International spy” For Exposing Forced Abortion Policy