The UNFPA oversees family-planning programmes around the world and has consistently denied that the Chinese government enforces abortions and sterilisation on women in pursuit of its "One-Child" policy.Why President Bush cut funding to the UNFPA
- Steve Mosher of the Population Research Institute was the first to report on China's coercive measures.
- Harry Wu, a human rights activist, has testified on China's forced abortion policies.
- Various fact-finding groups reported no UNFPA involvement in forced abortions in China.
- Critics of the reports pointed out that delegation members had to speak through a UNFPA interpreter and were UNFPA supporters.
- Women were interviewed in front of Chinese government officials.
In July, 2004, for the third year in a row, then President George Bush withheld a $US34 million grant to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), to show disapproval of it's role in China's allegedly forced abortions policy.
The bulk of the money was transferred to the U.S.Government's Agency for International Development.
UNFPA oversees family-planning programmes around the world and has consistently denied that the Chinese government enforces abortions and sterilisation on women in pursuit of its "One-Child" policy. The UNFPA supports the government's insistence that the abortions and sterilisations are voluntary.
In 1979, the Chinese government implemented its "One-Child" policy to limit population growth. Married couples were permitted one child, and strict surveillance and monitoring measures at grassroots levels ensured compliance. Should a woman become pregnant again, she is required to report for an abortion and have an IUD coil inserted.
The One-Child policy has been an unprecedented social experiment. For the first time in Chinese history, an entire generation is coming to maturity as only children, without brothers or sisters. Because of the cultural preference for boys, and the availability of ultrasound technology making sex-selection possible, millions of girl babies have been aborted.
This has resulted in a population imbalance. According to the Chinese government, an average of 117 boys are born for every 100 girls. In mid-2004, a new initiative to counter the growing gender balance was announced. Under the "Care for Girls" pilot programme, free schooling and better housing for couples with girls is offered, plus preferential treatment in welfare allowances and employment.
The plan is for the gender ratio to be lowered to 103 boys for every 100 girls. In Chinese culture, boys have traditionally been more valued than girls, especially in the countryside. Boys are expected to assist with farming and inherit land and property from their fathers.
As a direct result of the one-child policy, the number of people reaching retirement age is now fast outstripping the number of new entrants to the workforce. Currently 11% of the 1.3 billion population is over 60, a proportion that is expected to rise to 25% by 2030. By some estimates, the number of elderly people will almost quadruple between 2000 and 2040, to 397 million.
In 2004 three workers supported every retiree, but by 2020 the ratio will have fallen to 2.5 adults for every retired person.
The case that China employs coercive measures derives from two main sources:
- Steve Mosher, director of the Population Research Institute in Washington D.C. Mr Mosher was the first American anthropologist into China after the Cultural Revolution. He is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and the Fujian dialect.
- Harry Wu, director of the Laogai Research Foundation, was sent to the Laogai (China's Gulag Archipeligo) forced-labour camp network in 1960 and released 19 years later. In 1985, he became a visiting professor of geology at the University of California, but later left academia to become a human rights activist dedicated to exposing the Laogoi slave-labour system. In 1995, Harry Wu was arrested whilst gathering evidence in China. An international campaign was launched for his release and just before Hilary Clinton arrived in Beijing, he was released. In June, 1998, he testified on forced abortions before the U.S. House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. IFRLDailyNews
The UNFPA's denial of involvement in coercive family planning programmes has led to several external investigations by various interest groups.
- In 2002 C-FAM published an 80-page 'White Paper' (PDF File) entitled "The United Nations Population Fund: Assault on the World's Families". Read a summary of the Paper here.
- NZ Right-to-Life group wrote to Marion Hobbs, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, complaining about NZ Government donating $2.2 million to UNFPA. Ms Hobbs responds (citing U.S. State Dept. report below).
- The U.S.State Department sent a team to investigate
- A British Parliamentary delegation claimed to find no UNFPA involvement in China's apparently coercive population control programme. This is critiqued in a memorandum from the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (UK)
- The Christian Medical Fellowship provides an insight into the funding controversy
- PetersVoice explains why President Bush cut funding to UNFPA
- UK Parliament Select Committee on Foreign Affairs hearings on coercive population control measures in China. Reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. January 7th, 2003
- Catholics for a Free Choice sponsored delegation visitsed China and supported the UNFPA. Note: CFFC is sponsored by the Playboy Foundation and has been publicly disowned by the Vatican and U.S. Bishops for its role in abortion-rights advocacy.
- December 14, 2004 U.S. Department of State evidence of investigation, given to the House International Relations Committee.