- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 31, 2000

The killing of a newborn baby boy in central China earlier this month was the result of government "planning" gone horribly awry. The boy's mother, who lived in the township of Caidian 800 miles south of Beijing, had been injected with saline solution when she was near full-term to force a stillbirth. This practice is common in China, where parents who have more than one child are forced to pay fines, be sterilized or have a forced abortion.

When the child was born alive, however, government officials demanded his father throw him away. But the child's cries from a lavatory behind the Caidian government's finance office attracted the attention of a retired female doctor, the London Daily Telegraph reported. When the woman brought the baby to a local clinic to be treated, the family planning committee found out and was furious. Upon returning home with the boy, she found five of the committee members waiting at her doorstep. After a struggle, the paper reported, committee members jerked the boy from her arms and drowned him in a rice paddy.

As horrific as this government policy is, such official intervention is commonplace in China. In his book "A Mother's Ordeal," Steven Mosher, the president of the Population Research Institute, describes how a village woman had her baby before the abortion doctors could get there. But they still arrived with syringe in hand and put a lethal injection into the soft spot in the newborn's head the same procedure they use on babies who are not full term.

"If they arrest women who are six to eight months pregnant they will give a poison shot into the womb, into the unborn child, which causes the death of the child and causes a spontaneous ejection from the uterus," Mr. Mosher said. One head doctor of a military hospital in Shenzhen city said his hospital performed an average of 400 such procedures a year.

"I said, 'Don't your doctors object?' He said, 'No, well, they did at first, but it was like drinking coffee, at first it's bitter and then you get used to it,' " Mr. Mosher said.

Women who aren't pregnant have their own gantlet to run. Chinese companies have charts on the wall with the women's names down the side and the months of the year across the top. The women will then be asked whether they have had their menstrual cycle that month and receive the appropriate check mark in their name box. If a woman is suspected of lying, she will be forced to have a pelvic exam. In cities, population control officials have even been known to keep count of women's sanitary products.

What is left is a culture where the most basic rights of women and children are ignored. As next month's U.N. Millennium Assembly and Summit considers its "Earth Charter," it will have the opportunity to speak out against such abuses. The charter says "every form of life has value regardless of its worth to human beings," affirms "gender equality" and demands nations "ensure universal access to health care that fosters reproductive health and responsible reproduction." Member states cannot affirm through their silence the Chinese government's blatant disrespect for the lives of women and children.

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