WASHINGTON, October 17, 2001 (LSN.ca) – An investigation of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) activities in China by the Population Research Institute (PRI) prompted a Congressional hearing on coercive forms of population control in China, held today. The hearing, entitled “Coercive Population Control in China: New Evidence of Forced Abortion and Sterilization”, heard testimony from PRI President Steven Mosher and the lead investigator of the PRI-sponsored investigation of UNFPA operations in China.
During its recent investigation in China, a team of PRI investigators discovered a policy of forced abortion and sterilization enforced in a region where UNFPA operates. UNFPA, however, claims that family planning operations in this region where it operates are purely voluntary.
PRI has obtained testimonies from women in this county confirming that women may have a second child only if their first child is a girl. However, a woman must wait four years before becoming pregnant again. In the interim, women are forced to wear IUDs to prevent “illegal” pregnancies. Women who violate this policy are ordered to have abortions and sterilizations on pain of imprisonment, fines, and the destruction of their homes and property.
The UNFPA denies that coercion exists in counties where it operates. But at the hearing, PRI presented evidence showing that brute force is used on women who violate coercive family planning policies.
Interviews conducted by PRI in China include the following:
Woman: Right now, things are very, very strict.. Giving birth to an extra child is difficult, very, very difficult to have a child. Questioner: How did they know you had a baby? Woman: They found out. Someone told them. Questioner: Then the family planning workers came to your house. Did a whole troop of them come? Woman: A lot of them came. Many, many people. Questioner: What if you hid? Woman: That wouldn’t work. They would tear down my house. (Points at the ceiling). They would wreck it.
And the following:
Woman: I was four-and-a-half months pregnant. They wanted me to report to the hospital for an abortion but I refused to go. I went into hiding in my mother’s village. Then my brother, my older sister, and my younger sister were all arrested. I had no choice but to go somewhere else to hide. They arrested three people in my mother’s family but didn’t destroy any homes. They arrested six people in my mother-in-law’s family and destroyed three homes. Man: Look at this. All of the doors and windows destroyed. Here’s a big hole that they knocked in the wall [with jackhammers]. It took forty bags of cement to repair the holes.
PRI also interviewed women in a hospital waiting room. One woman, too young at 19 years of age to get married-the minimum age is 23-had been ordered to report for an abortion. As she disappeared into the operating room, PRI asked her three friends: “Would she like to keep her baby?”“Oh, yes,” they replied, “But the law forbids it.”
During its investigations, PRI located, through local officials, a UNFPA office desk within the County Government Building in the Office of Family Planning, the office responsible for enforcing the coercive family planning policy in this county. PRI confirmed that UNFPA works with, in and through this Office of Family Planning in this region.