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For over three decades, China’s barbaric One-Child Policy condemned millions of unwanted or “surplus” Chinese girls to abortion, infanticide, abandonment and human trafficking.
 
Following China’s recent announcement that it is adopting a universal two-child policy, media reports profiled individual Chinese families and the trauma they’ve experienced at the hands of their own government: women still grieving the child they were robbed of, parents adrift after losing the only child the government allowed them to have, families who are too old to take advantage of this policy change. Sadly, these types of stories will continue under the new policy.
 
Ultimately, China’s new two-child policy is as indefensible and inhumane as the one-child policy it replaces. In fact, China’s new policy should be known as the “forced abortion of child #3” policy. China needs to recognize that its problem isn’t that it has too many innocent children; it’s that they have too many repressive communist adults with blood all over their clenched iron fists.
 
It would be a mistake to assume this change in any way reflects a newfound respect for human rights by Beijing.  It is still a population control policy and still, at its heart, repressive. When couples conceive a third child, the Chinese government will force them to eliminate him or her, by any means necessary. There are also doubts about those second children conceived in the months between the policy announcement and its ultimate implementation at the provincial level. China’s vast population control apparatus will continue to exist. Birth permits will still be required. And second children, already born in violation of the previous policy will continue to face tremendous challenges—denied the most basic rights of Chinese citizenship.
 
A government that possesses such little regard for its own people – parents and children alike – cannot be relied upon to adhere to other international norms.
 
This is China’s shameful legacy. According to the latest census, men outnumber women by at least 33 million. Estimates suggest that there will be a surplus of 40-50 million bachelors in China through the mid-to late 21st century.
 
Couples who have violated the one-child policy have historically faced a variety of punishments, from fines and the loss of employment to forced abortions and sterilizations.  The Annual Report of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), which I co-chair, noted that last year local governments directed officials to punish non-compliance with the one-child policy with heavy fines termed “social compensation fees,” which compel many couples to choose between undergoing an unwanted abortion and incurring a fine much greater than the average annual income of the locality.  This is a “choice” no parent should have to make.
 
Today, I joined with CECC Chairman, Representative Chris Smith in urging Secretary of State John Kerry to provide an update on the administration’s implementation of the “Girls Count Act”, which was signed into law on June 12. As this law’s chief sponsor in the Senate, I was motivated by the fact that every year approximately 51 million children under the age of five are not registered at birth, most of whom are girls, leaving them susceptible to marginalization and exploitation. This law directs current U.S. foreign assistance programming to support the rights of women and girls in developing countries by working to establish birth registries in their countries. There is a massive problem regarding children for whom no official records exist because they were not registered at birth—this is, of course, especially true in China.  The legislation also prioritizes a variety of rule of law programs intended to raise the legal and financial status of girls in order to help address the cultural and financial rationale for sex-selective abortions.  Again, this component has particular relevance to China.
 

 
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