- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 12, 2009

It was the mute appeal to President Obama that was so heart-rending. It came in the form of a photo — placed in a prominent spot during the congressional hearing — of a young Chinese woman on a hospital bed gazing down at what had been her baby. To her left, on a bright yellow plastic bag, was a 7-month-old aborted child.

Wang Liping, the name of this unwed mother, is the new face of China’s One Child policy, which is 30 years old this year. On Sunday, the president leaves for China and the folks at Tuesday’s hearing wanted to make sure Mr. Obama knows that coerced abortion is alive and well over there.

“The naivete when it comes to forced abortions is serious around the world,” said Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican and chairman of the hearing. “This is the worst violence against women in human history.”

Maybe not all of the 400 million births prevented by the Chinese government were forced, but many were. And when I say “forced,” that means if you don’t have the necessary birth permit, police enter your home in the wee hours of the morning or grab you, screaming, off the street, drag you to a hospital, tie you down on a bed and inject a needle through your abdomen into the head of your unborn child. And if a dead child is not forthcoming fast enough, doctors slice and dice them right there in the womb, sometimes killing the mother in the process.

As human rights activist Harry Wu reminded us, this cruel policy affects one-fifth of the world’s women.

We were handed packets describing case after case of compulsory abortions, about China’s soaring female suicide rate, of lawyers like Chen Guangcheng who are imprisoned for exposing these forced terminations to the media.

Because police tend to raid peoples’ homes at night looking for illegally pregnant women, whole villages have taken to spending nights in the fields.

I can’t imagine spending an entire pregnancy hiding out in the wild, but this is what many women do. If word gets out that a certain woman is pregnant without a permit, her family is fined and tortured and their homes razed unless she turns herself in for the inevitable late-term abortion.

Tuesday’s hearing revealed some new trends, such as girls in Chinese orphanages having forced hysterectomies, a Chinese Web site that describes how to kill children who survive an abortion and details about the ethnic cleansing of the largely Muslim Uighur population. According to Rebiya Kadeer of the Uyghur American Association, Uighurs - at least on paper - are allowed up to three children. In practice, she said, population-control officials will go after Uighurs instead of Han Chinese migrants to fulfill abortion quotas.

As a result, the One Child policy prevented 3 million births in the region between 1996 and 2000, an alarmingly high figure, she said, considering the Uighur population only numbers 8 million.

I wish I could say the president is interested in the awful information presented by this panel, but remember, we’re talking about a man who turned down an opportunity to meet with the Dalai Lama last month for fear of offending the Chinese.

After all, they own nearly $2 trillion of U.S. debt. We wouldn’t want them to start cashing that in, would we?

And so he will remain silent.

Julia Duin’s Stairway to Heaven column runs on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at jduin@washingtontimes.com.

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