By Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Like the Good Samaritan, she picked up a newborn baby girl who had been abandoned on the side of the road and took her home. Even though she was pregnant with her first child, she could not bring herself to turn her back on this innocent and helpless infant. Then the knock came on her door. The decision had been made; Chinese law only allowed her to have one child and since she had taken a baby girl into her protection she would be required to abort the child in her womb. In China the terrible consequence for her compassionate act was that her unborn child was killed through a forced abortion.
This heart-wrenching story, told by the victim during a congressional hearing, is all too common in China. For the last two decades the United Nations Population Fund, with the misfitting acronym UNFPA, has shockingly defended the coercive Chinese population control program. Thankfully, President George Bush has once again put the United States solidly on the side of the victims and against the oppressors by refusing to fund UNFPA.
The victims have told me their horrific stories about the Chinese one-child-per-couple policy. At one religious freedom meeting in China, I asked what the participants knew about forced abortion policies. All three women in the group broke down in tears as they shared with me how they all had been forced to have abortions. One woman talked about how she thought God was going to protect her baby, but she was not able to escape the abortion.
Other women who have gained asylum in the United States because of China's coercive population control program have told me terrible stories of crippling fines, imprisonment of family members, and destruction of homes and property - - all to force abortion and sterilization upon millions of women. According
to the most recent State Department Human Rights Report, one consequence of "the country's birth limitation policies" is that 56% of the world's female suicides occur in China, which is five times the world average and approximately 500 suicides by women per day.
Mrs. Gao Xiao Duan, a former administrator of a Chinese Planned Birth Control Office, testified before Congress about China's policies. She explained, "Once I found a woman who was nine months pregnant, but did not have a birth-allowed certificate. According to the policy, she was forced to undergo an abortion surgery. In the operation room I saw how the aborted child's lips were sucking, how its limbs were stretching. A physician injected poison into its skull, and the child died, and it was thrown into the trash can. . . . I was a monster in the daytime, injuring others by the Chinese communist authorities' barbaric planned-birth policy, but in the evening, I was like all other women and mothers, enjoying my life with my children. . . . [T]o all those injured women, to all those children who were killed, I want to repent and say sincerely that I'm sorry!"
While Mrs. Gao acknowledged her part in these human rights atrocities and courageously told her story, UNFPA continues to side with the Chinese government.
Since 1979, UNFPA has been the chief apologist and cheerleader for China's coercive one-child-per-couple policy. Despite numerous credible forced abortion reports from impeccable sources, including human rights organizations like Amnesty International, journalists, former Chinese population control officials, and, above all, from the women victims themselves, high officials at UNFPA always dismiss and explain it all away. UNFPA has funded, provided crucial technical support, and, most importantly, provided cover for massive crimes of forced abortion and involuntary sterilization.
Time and again, high officials of UNFPA have defended the indefensible and called voluntary that which is anything but. The former executive director of UNFPA, Nafis Sadik, said, "China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy. The country could offer its experiences and special expertise to help other countries." On CBS Nightwatch she said, "The UNFPA firmly believes, and so does the government of the People's Republic of China, that their program is a totally voluntary program." And Sven Burmester: UNFPA's man in Beijing, gushed over China's achievements, "In strictly quantitative terms, it was the most successful family-planning policy ever developed."
Make no mistake that China covets UNFPA financial and verbal support of their program as a "Good-Housekeeping seal of approval" to whitewash its human rights violations. I traveled to China and met with the head of its population control program, Peng Peiyun. In our lengthy conversation, Madame Peng Peiyun told me over and over again that there was no coercion in China, and then she cited UNFPA's participation in the program and UNFPA's public statements where UNFPA leaders have defended it. The United States should not help UNFPA cover up China's crimes against women and children.
A 19-year-old law called "the Kemp-Kasten amendment" gives the President authority to disqualify an organization from receiving U.S. funding if that organization "supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization."
Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush used this law to prevent UNFPA from receiving U.S. funding because UNFPA operated in China. President Bush even vetoed the 1989 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill to prevent government funding from going to UNFPA.
When Bill Clinton became president, he unilaterally determined that UNFPA did not violate the law and U.S. funding began to flow to UNFPA. But UNFPA's activities were so egregious that even during one year of the Clinton presidency, Congress successfully withheld all funding from UNFPA.
The George W. Bush Administration reexamined the UNFPA issue in 2001, and through the Department of State determined that UNFPA's activities in China violated Kemp-Kasten, thereby making them ineligible for U.S. funding. On July 21, 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote, "Regrettably, the PRC has in place a regime of severe penalties on women who have unapproved births. This regime plainly operates to coerce pregnant women to have abortions in order to avoid the penalties and therefore amounts to a 'program of coercive abortion.'" "... UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion. Therefore, it is not permissible to continue funding UNFPA at this time." The funds that would have gone to UNFPA were instead given to assist other organizations.
After the Bush Administration determined that UNFPA violated the law, three members of the House attempted to change the law so that UNFPA can receive funding even if it continues to support China's program. Reps. Maloney, Crowley, and Lowey have all offered amendments and supported bills to force funding to UNFPA.
But each of those attempts to change human rights law has been defeated. UNFPA and its friends on Capitol Hill continue to make outrageous claims that tens of thousands of women die if other organizations besides UNFPA receive U.S. funding, but their claims are unsubstantiated and illogical, especially since the funding is not cut but is instead given to other organizations.
In 2002, China explicitly stated its Draconian population control program in law, but UNFPA still continues to support the Chinese program. The Bush Administration has consistently found UNFPA ineligible to receive funding, most recently releasing a July 15, 2004, letter where Secretary Powell said, "China continues to employ coercion in its birth planning program, including through severe penalties for 'out of plan births'. . . . UNFPA continues its support and involvement in China's coercive birth limitation program in counties where China's restrictive law and penalties are enforced by government officials."
UNFPA remains guilty of shamelessly supporting and whitewashing terrible crimes against humanity, and the United States will have no part in subsidizing them. In refusing to fund UNFPA, President Bush has taken the side of the oppressed and has refused to cooperate with the oppressor. UNFPA has aggressively defended a barbaric policy that makes brothers and sisters illegal, and makes women the pawns of the population control cadres.
If UNFPA lobbied the Chinese government to stop forced abortion as aggressively as it lobbies the United States to overturn human rights policy, there would be less suffering in China today.