The following testimony was shared by Liu Ping (real name: Mei Shunping) at a congressional hearing on China's One-Child Policy, September 23, 2011:
My name is Liu Ping. I was born in 1958 in Tianjin, China, and arrived in the United States in 1999. Before coming to America, I worked in a state-owned textile factory in Tianjin. The majority of the workers in the factory were women, many of whom were also of reproductive age, so the Family Planning Policy was implemented especially strictly. I am simply one of these many women whose lives were destroyed by the policy.
I married my husband in 1981. In September 1983, I gave birth to a boy. According to the policy at that time, women who gave birth were required to have intrauterine devices (IUD’s) implanted, or one of the spouses was required to undergo a sterilization operation. At that time I had swelling in my right kidney for undiagnosed reasons, so doctors refused to implant the IUD in me and recommended instead that I use other contraceptive methods. Without the IUD, I became the prime target for surveillance by the factory’s Family Planning Commission. From 1983 to 1990, because of the One-Child Policy, I had to have five abortions on the following dates: September 28, 1984; December 17, 1985; March 20, 1986; May 5, 1989; and December 14, 1990. All the operations were recorded in my medical history. I suffered greatly at the hands of the inhumane One-Child Policy.
In the 1980’s, shortly after the implementation of the One-Child Policy in China, there were many severe methods of surveillance and punishment to prevent unplanned pregnancies and above-quota births. My factory’s Family Planning Commission used three levels of control: at the factory level, in the factory clinic and on the factory floor. There was a system of collective punishment: if one worker violated the rules, all would be punished. Workers monitored each other. Women of reproductive age accounted for 60% of my factory floor. Colleagues were suspicious and hostile to each other because of the One-Child Policy. Two of my pregnancies were reported by my colleagues to the Family Planning Commission. When discovered, pregnant women would be dragged to undergo forced abortions—there simply was no other choice. We had no dignity as potential child-bearers. By order of the factory’s Family Planning Commission, every month during their menstrual period, women had to undress in front of the birth planning doctor for examination. If anyone skipped the examination, she would be forced to take a pregnancy test at the hospital. We were allowed to collect a salary only after it was confirmed that we were not pregnant.
The day of my fifth and last abortion, December 14, 1990, was the saddest of my life. Because I was unable to prove that I wasn’t pregnant within the 10-15 day time period, the birth planning doctor in the factory clinic found out about my pregnancy. That day, officials from the factory Family Planning Commission drove to the City Police Hospital and forced me to have an abortion in the Birth Planning Department. It was my first operation in that hospital. All my previous abortions happened in the Central City Hospital. I didn't know what the officials in my factory told the doctors. After the abortion, the doctors—without my knowledge—implanted a metal IUD in my uterus. When I learned of the procedure, I protested that I had a kidney disease and could not keep the IUD, but they completely ignored me. The doctors just gave the bill to my husband and told him to pay. While my husband argued with the doctors, I was recovering in a hospital bed. When I left the operating room, still weak, I couldn’t find my husband. I was told that he had been arrested. I collapsed crying from the physical toll of the two operations and the emotional shock. A kind nurse tried to comfort me somewhat, but she was shooed away by a man who also threatened to have me arrested by the police. By this time, the Family Planning officials who dragged me to the hospital were nowhere to be found. I felt alone, sick and weak. Afterwards, I learned that my husband had been sentenced to criminal detention without a trial for violating and obstructing the One-Child Policy, disturbing the normal operations of a hospital, and disturbing social peace. My husband was released 15 days later. I was in great pain from the metallic IUD and the weakness of the abortion and almost didn’t want to live. The arrest of my husband deprived me of the care of my family. My young son didn’t know what was happening and kept crying for his father. I didn’t know what to do and could only hold my son and cry with him. Even now, when I think of all this, my heart shudders and the pain throbs.
Those painful 15 days of separation became the catalyst of my eventually failed marriage. My body suffered great damage from all the forced abortions. I gradually grew afraid of family life with my husband. I tried to find excuses to refuse any intimacy demands from my husband. I grew to hate him after the IUD was inserted because I blamed my suffering on his unwillingness to be surgically sterilized. He had known of my kidney disease but would not make any sacrifice for me. I felt no love from him. After the fifth abortion and the IUD insertion, my factory also gave me a “serious administrative warning” and fined me six months’ wages. Afterwards, I had to go to the factory clinic every month for exams to make certain that I had not privately taken out the IUD or become pregnant. I carried this IUD in my body for over a decade before I came to America.
My husband’s detention accelerated the demise of my marriage. He was suspended from his job and censored, then lost his job in 1991. Our family immediately sank into financial difficulties. We argued frequently. I was laid off at the end of 1995. As I was still considered of reproductive age, the Family Planning Commission of my neighborhood committee took up the job of monitoring me. In early 1997, I spent 40 days taking care of my terminally ill mother and missed the monthly pregnancy check. Agents from the Family Planning Commission waited at my home to drag me to the exam. When they pushed me to the ground, I fell and hurt my neck vertebrae. My spirit completely collapsed after this. I attempted suicide but was stopped by my family from jumping. With the help of old friends, in 1999, I escaped the country that humiliated and destroyed me, and came to the free soil of America.
My husband came to the U.S. a year later. We were unable to mend our past grievances, and divorced in 2001. I became extremely depressed after the divorce, but at the suggestion of my friends I started attending church, where I felt the warmth of Christ’s family. The Lord Jesus led me to give up the hatred in my heart, bit by bit. In 2009, my neck injury flared up again. I reunited with my husband when he came to care for me, and we joined together again after I was baptized last year. Now we live in the great family of Christ, in the free land of America. I feel happiness but know that back in China, there are millions of women who are suffering like I did. Every day, thousands of young lives are being destroyed. I beg everyone to save them and wish everyone to join me in a prayer for them. Let the love of our Heavenly Father, the grace of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit fill their hearts and release them from the hellish suffering. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
(Image: AFP/Karen Bleier)
by Therese Hesketh, Ph.D., Li Lu, M.D., & Zhu Wei Xing, M.P.H.
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