WASHINGTON, D.C., April 26, 2013 ( – On Wednesday a delegation led by Congressman Chris Smith and human rights activist Reggie Littlejohn attempted to deliver 200,000 signatures on a petition to end sex-selective and forced abortions in China to the Chinese embassy in Washington.  But though Rep. Smith and Littlejohn tried repeatedly to gain access to the embassy to deliver the petition signatures, the Embassy refused.


Littlejohn, the director of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, said that she could see that there were people inside the embassy, but they would not answer the door though the bell was rung repeatedly. 

“This refusal is symbolic of the way that the Chinese Communist Party turns a deaf ear to all those who criticize its human rights record,” she said, adding, “They may refuse to accept our petition, but they will not silence us.” 

China's one-child policy is routinely enforced through brutal measures including forced abortions and sterilizations, and crippling fines that can amount to several times a family's annual income. A cultural preference for boys has led to a sky-high abortion rate for girls, leading to a significant gender imblanace that experts say is in turn leading to an increase in sexual trafficking, and an extremely high suicide rate among women.

According to a 2010 China census, more than 118 males were born that year in China for every 100 females. The normal rate is 105 males for every 100 females born. 

The attempt to deliver the petitions followed a screening of the film “It’s a Girl” at the Capitol on Tuesday evening. The film was shot on location in India and China, where more girls are eliminated each year than are born annually in the United States due to cultures that heavily favor boys. 

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“The words ‘it’s a girl’ are the deadliest words on earth,” Rep. Smith, R-NJ, said during a press conference. He added that, “according to one UN estimate, up to 200 million women are missing in the world today due to ‘gendercide,’ sex-selection abortion, abandonment or deadly neglect of baby girls just because they are female.”

The director of the film, Evan Grae Davis, was also present during the attempted delivery of the petitions. “It's clear to me the Embassy had heard we would be delivering the petitions and rather than hear the voices of hundreds of thousands of people around the world, they chose to lock their doors and prevent even a member of the U.S. Congress from being heard,” he said.

Littlejohn said that the 200,000 signatures on the petition came from more than 70 countries. “They represent a widespread, international outcry against forced abortion and gendercide in China,” she said. 

Rep. Smith noted that the delivery of the petitions was timely, after a reported was released last week by the U.S. State Department showing that the rate of female suicide in China has increased from 500 to 590 each day, and that three times the number of women as men commit suicide in China.  

“Two of the factors cited include ‘the traditional preference for male children, [and] birth limitation policies,’” he observed. “This is the true 'War Against Women.'”

Littlejohn vowed that she and other human rights activists “will continue to raise our voices on behalf of the hundreds of millions women who have been forcibly aborted, up to the ninth month of pregnancy, and the girls who are being selectively aborted, just because they are girls.  These practices constitute a crime against humanity and we will not stop our efforts until this violence against women and girls has ended.” 


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