By Alex Bush and John Jalsevac

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 12, 2009 ( – Last week, during a radio interview on the Diane Rehm Show, Ted Turner, the billionaire founder of CNN, claimed that China has not used “draconian steps” in its one-child policy, but rather simply “encourages” people to limit the number of children per family to one. (To listen to the interview, go to:

However, as recently as this past month a researcher with the Population Research Institute (PRI) confirmed during a trip to China that coercive measures, including forced abortion, imprisonment, crippling fines, and kidnapping are frequently used by the Chinese government in the effort to enforce their one-child policy. This fact has been verified by numerous other independent human rights organizations and researchers over the last several decades, since the one-child policy was first instituted.

In 2005 Amnesty International released a report that stated that in China, “Serious violations against women and girls continued to be reported as a result of the enforcement of the family planning policy, including forced abortions and sterilizations.”

Turner said during the recent interview that the word “control” in the term “population control” raises “a lot of bad connotations,” since “people don’t want to be controlled.” But, he said, he believes in family planning “as long as it’s voluntary.”

When the interviewer repeated his words, “as long as it’s voluntary,” Turner continued, “The Chinese, and I think wisely, instituted a one-child policy. And they put in penalties, tax penalties and so forth, for people who have more than one child. But they’re still a billion and half people in China, and, if you’ve been over there, it’s so over-crowded you can barely turn around.”

Turned continued on to claim that “they’ve done it without draconian – as far as I can see – draconian steps. They do encourage people to have one child.”

At that point the interviewer interjected that “they’ve done more than encourage on several occasions.”

“Well, I’m not intimately familiar with everything,” Turner responded.

John Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), responded to the comments by accusing Turner of basically “denying the Holocaust” in claiming that China has not used “Draconian steps.”

“The Chinese regime’s 30-year record of infanticide, forced abortion, forced sterilization, torture, imprisonment and other crimes is so voluminous that Turner’s comments are analogous to denying the Holocaust,” he said.

Earlier this month Colin Mason of the Population Research Institute returned from China with documented and clear evidence that the use of coercive measures by Chinese officials is alive and well. Mason summed up his findings, saying, “Crippling fines, intense pressure to be sterilized, the flagrant display of quota information, and even the seizure of ‘illegal children’ by the government are commonplace.” (See:

PRI president Steve Mosher also commented on Mason’s investigation, saying, “What struck me âEUR¦ as someone who has been following the policy for three decades, was how the fines for ‘illegal’ children have increased in recent years. The fines for having an illegal child are now three to five times the family’s income. The equivalent fine in the U.S. would be $150,000 – $250,000. Couples have to mortgage their future for decades – literally – in order to be able to borrow enough money to pay off these fines.”

“The government insists on calling this extortion ‘social compensation fees,'” he says, “as if the parents were simply defraying the cost to society of another child — but in reality they are heavily punitive. Faced with the prospect of such a fine, many couples ‘voluntarily’ submit to an abortion and sterilization.”

Mosher also observed: “Colin’s findings are consistent with the results of earlier investigations carried out by PRI. In 2001, for example, PRI sent a team of investigators into China to look into the UNFPA’s ‘model family planning’ program, specifically its claim that forced abortions and forced sterilizations are a thing of the past. While in country, we interviewed over two dozen victims and witnesses of coercion, and videotaped and audiotaped their answers. Those interviewed stated that voluntary family planning does not exist in the UNFPA’s ‘model’ program and that forced abortions continue to occur.”

See related coverage:

UNFPA Supports Coercive Family Planning-Including Forced Abortion-in China

China’s One-Child Terror Campaign Continues

Chinese Government to Increase Fines for Violating One-Child Policy

On-the-Ground China Investigation Re-Confirms UNFPA Complicit in Coercive One-Child Policy

One-Child Policy Opponent Tortured in Chinese Labour Camp

Forced Abortion Still A Reality in China Says New Amnesty Report