- The Washington Times - Monday, November 16, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Even as President Obama was preparing for his trip to meet with Chinese leaders this week, brave witnesses came before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington.

They shared sad tales about how the Chinese government is destroying the lives of women and devastating the traditional Chinese family.

The one-child policy has brought with it the highest female suicide rates in the world, widespread forced-abortion campaigns and rampant sex-selective abortion that is creating a gender imbalance. Since its inception in 1979, the coercive one-child policy has been the worst human rights abuse in the world today.

Few people outside China learn of the cruel social control of the one-child policy. The U.S. China Commission summarized it as a system “marked by pervasive propaganda, mandatory monitoring of women’s reproductive cycles, mandatory contraception, mandatory birth permits, coercive fines for failure to comply, and, in some cases, forced sterilization and abortion.”

A Chinese woman who becomes pregnant without a government permit faces relentless pressure to abort. Illegal children are denied education, health care and marriage. Fines for bearing a child without a birth permit can be 10 times the average annual income of two parents. Those families that can’t or won’t pay are jailed or their homes are smashed in or their young child is killed. A woman may be held in a cell. If she flees, her relatives may be detained and beaten. She can be socially ostracized, as her colleagues, and neighbors will be denied birth permits. If the woman is by some miracle still able to resist this pressure, she may be physically dragged to the operating table and forced to undergo an abortion.

The World Health Organization reports more than 500 female suicides per day in China. It is the only country in the world where the female suicide rate is higher than the male - three times higher than for males, in fact.

The result of this policy is unprecedented in human history, where women are psychologically wounded, girl babies fall victim to sex-selective abortion because males are valued more, and most children grow up without brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles or cousins.

Our Nobel Prize-winning president, it seems to me, has a moral duty and sacred responsibility not to demote, trivialize or dismiss these outrageous crimes against women and children. The secretary of state set a dangerous precedent when she said, en route to Beijing for her first visit, that human rights won’t “interfere” with peddling U.S. debt or issues related to climate change.

I believe the Chinese government would respond if the president were to speak out in defense of human rights in China. Beijing is sensitive to how it is viewed by the rest of the world. Its heightened global influence in the world and its new model for authoritarian regimes throughout Asia and Africa provide all the more reason for us to stand up for the rights of the Chinese people.

It is both complicit and unnecessary that the Obama administration lavishly funds - to the tune of $50 million - organizations, including the U.N. Population Fund - that partner with China’s National Population Planning Commission.

This should not be a partisan issue. On June 10, 1998, at a hearing I chaired, the late Rep. Tom Lantos, California Democrat, said: “There are few crimes against human beings which are more horrendous, more despicable, more outrageous than the practice of forced abortion and forced sterilization. Such brutal violations of human rights must be condemned across the political spectrum, and you and I have stood together through the years in condemning them.”

I ask the president to consider the appeal of Wujian, a Chinese woman victimized by forced abortion who at great risk told her story to the world - the same story as millions of Chinese women. She testified behind a screen at a hearing of the Lantos Commission in Washington on Nov. 10:

“The room was full of moms who had just gone through a forced abortion. Some moms were crying, some moms were mourning, some moms were screaming, and one mom was rolling on the floor with unbearable pain. …

“Then I kept saying to [the abortionist] … ‘how could you become a killer by killing people every day?’…

“She also told me that there was nothing serious about this whole thing for her. She did these all year. She also told me that there were over 10,000 forced abortions in our small county just for that year, and I was having just one of them… .

“Finally, she put the big, long needle into the head of my baby in my womb. At the moment, it was the end of the world for me and I felt even time had stopped… .”

Wujian told us that when the first procedure failed, they moved to a surgical abortion with scissors and a special vacuum machine:

“I did not have any time to think as this most horrifying surgery began by force. I could hear the sound of the scissors cutting the body of my baby in my womb… .

“Eventually the journey in hell, the surgery, was finished, and one nurse showed me part of a bloody foot with her tweezers. Through my tears, the picture of the bloody foot was engraved into my eyes and into my heart, and so clearly I could see the five small bloody toes. Immediately the baby was thrown into a trash can… .”

Silence in the face of this barbaric Chinese government behavior, Mr. President, is not an option.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith is a New Jersey Republican.

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