BEIJING—The human toll of China’s One-Child Policy became clearer this weekend when the government acknowledged that it had carried out 336 million abortions under the policy.
The report came from the newly minted Ministry of Health and Family Planning, which has taken over family planning enforcement from the National Population and Family Planning Commission.
To some, the end of this merger was a sign that the government might be rolling back the policy despite publicly claiming it would continue “unchanged.” Population expert Wang Feng told the WSJ:
“Saying that there is no change is a measure to save face and a recognition that they can’t announce all the change in one day. The National Population and Family Planning Commission was created for a single mandate of controlling population growth and now they no longer have that, those powers have been dissolved.
“What the government is doing is a major political move and they cannot make or announce all the policy changes that go along with it in one day. They know they can’t dismantle everything all at once. It’s going to take some time.”
For Chinese mothers and children, the end of the policy cannot come quickly enough.
“If the Chinese government really wants to ‘save face,’ they will end the One-Child Policy right away,” said Brian Lee, Executive Director of All Girls Allowed. “There is nothing embarrassing about sparing women and children from oppression and threats of violence. But the longer China holds to this policy, the more shameful it becomes.”
It seems that public sentiment is changing in China, too. Though a 2008 Pew Research study found that three quarters of Chinese citizens supported the family planning policy, more recent surveys reveal a drastic change.
Last week, the Communications University of China released a new survey. They learned that the One-Child Policy was among respondents’ top concerns during the National People’s Congress, and that fewer than 40% of respondents supported the policy. Significantly, fewer than 20% of survey respondents thought that the birth rate would substantially increase if the policy were lifted.
The shift may not be surprising given how frequently Chinese citizens hear about new cases of One-Child Policy abuse. As China’s 12th National Congress wrapped up in Beijing this week, leaving the One-Child Policy at least nominally “unchanged,” Chinese women in a village in Guangzhou suffered a major invasion of privacy.
The horrified women said the local government had posted their names, addresses, and identity numbers, along with the contraception methods they were using, on a public bulletin board.
They were humiliated. “Every time I see these posters, I want to run away,” one woman told local station TVS. It seemed that the local Family Planning office had decided to solicit public help in enforcing the One-Child Policy by “naming and shaming” married women who were ineligible to have children.
Meanwhile, we received a report last week of a young mother’s forced sterilization in Linyi, Shandong. Linyi is the hometown of Chen Guangcheng, the blind lawyer who escaped from his house arrest in the village last year. (All Girls Allowed is currently trying to verify the story independently.)
These ongoing injustices show why the policy must end urgently.
“We know that God will deliver the Chinese people from the One-Child Policy no matter how long the government tries to delay it,” said Brian Lee.
"Jesus came to 'release the oppressed,' and we ask our brothers and sisters everywhere to join us in praying that he would bring freedom to China’s daughters soon.”
(Image: A TVS reporter points to the public boards where married women's ID numbers and contraception methods were displayed.)
All Girls Allowed (http://www.allgirlsallowed.org) was founded by Chai Ling in 2010 with a mission to display the love of Jesus by restoring life, value and dignity to girls and mothers in China and to reveal the injustice of the One-Child Policy. “In Jesus’ Name, Simply Love Her.”