- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 3, 2015

China’s highly touted decision to end its strict “one-child policy” to control its population has ended grim abuses for families in the country, witnesses told a Capitol Hill hearing Thursday.

Many parents hoping to have a second child are finding the reforms do not apply to them.

“Although I am pregnant with my second child, I am not protected under China’s so-called ‘two-child policy,’” said a woman testifying under the pseudonym “Sarah Huang” to protect her identity.

Recently, when she and her husband happily realized they were expecting their second baby, they thought things would be fine because they were told “everyone in China can now have a second child,” Ms. Huang told the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) through an interpreter.

But instead, she said, her husband’s government employer told him that an “abortion was necessary and mandatory,” and he had to provide proof of Ms. Huang’s abortion or face punishment.

“My family and I arrived in America just prior to Thanksgiving, and now I am given this chance to share with you today,” said Ms. Huang. “I believe that the people in this room, in this city and in this country have the courage to stand up for what is right, and I believe that you deserve to know the truth.”

In China married couples still must obtain a birth permit before they become pregnant, she and other experts told the hearing.

The hearing stemmed from an Oct. 29 announcement by the Central Committee of the Chinese Community Party that it would be changing its 35-year-old “one-child” per couple policy to a “two-child” per couple policy.

The news was hailed around the world, and a recent article in the official China Daily newspaper said that about 90 million couples are expected to become eligible to have a second child after the policy is fully implemented in 2016.

The bigger families are expected to expand some commercial sectors, such as food, infant clothing, toys, family cars, baby care products and education, China Daily said, noting that President Xi Jinping has said 6.5 percent annual economic growth is “the minimum required” to meet the nation’s Five-Year Plan through 2020.

But witnesses at the CECC hearing warned that since China’s Communist Party leadership believes it has the right to control “production” — including setting quotas — it also believes it has the right to control “reproduction” in its population.

Given China’s history of coercive birth control policies, it is plausible that couples who are “permitted” today to have a second child might one day be “ordered” to bear children,” said Steven W. Mosher, president of Population Research Institute and a longtime critic of China’s population control policies.

“A government bent on regulating its population under a state plan will do whatever [is] necessary to ‘produce’ the number of children it has ordered reproduced,” said Mr. Mosher, who was an eyewitness to the one-child policy when it was relatively new.

Other witnesses, like Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, and Jennifer Li, co-founder of the China Life Alliance, talked about the horrors of forced abortions and forced sterilizations — the latter being a requirement for a mother to obtain the all-important house registration for a second child — and “gendercide,” or selective abortion or infanticide of females. The “son preference” in China is believed to have led to more than 30 million “missing” girls — leaving the same number of young men without much hope to start their own household or continue the family lineage.

Moreover, China’s massive “army of family planning officials” will be maintained, since it keeps control of the population and remains a “lucrative profit center” due to the collection of billions of dollars in fines from families who violate the child policy, said Ms. Littlejohn.

“By all indications, the sorts of ugly human rights violations … will still be very much part and parcel of China’s population policy agenda,” said Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at American Enterprise Institute, who has also spoken frequently about China’s aging population and shrinking workforce.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, chairman of the CECC, said the shift to the two-child policy in Beijing should not be applauded.

Instead, Mr. Smith said, the international community, led by the United States, “must insist that China abolish all birth restrictions, dismantle its family planning apparatus, compensate the victims of forced abortions and sterilizations, raise the legal and inheritance status of girls and permanently close a dark and deadly chapter in Chinese history.”

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