HUMAN RIGHTS: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
Why are feminists silent on Beijing's abuse of women?
, June 26, 2010
The persecution in China of human rights activists, religious believers, Falun Gong practitioners and members of racial minorities, such as the Tibetans and Uighurs, has been well documented. But no attention has been paid to the crimes systematically perpetrated against women through the regime's one-child policy.
Since 1978, the Beijing regime has imposed a policy of one child per family, introduced because of China's rapidly growing population. The policy of mandatory abortion is enforced on women, as well as infanticide where children are born into families which already have one child.
While this policy weighs heavily on families, in practice it is imposed on women.
The consequences of this policy constitute systematic persecution of women, as well as the killing of millions of female babies as a result of gender selection. As the killing of a particular group is defined as genocide, what is happening in China today is a form of genocide against women.
The significance of this attack on women was highlighted by a US attorney, Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, who gave up her legal practice to document the systematic abuse of women in China.
She said recently: "China's one-child policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth. This is not a political issue. It's a human rights issue and a women's rights issue. On April 22 of this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned forced abortion and forced sterilisation in China, saying that they are ‘absolutely unacceptable'.
"Another pro-choice feminist has described forced abortion as ‘torture'. It does not matter whether you are pro-choice or pro-life on this issue. No one supports forced abortion, because it is not a choice."
Ms Littlejohn pointed out that forced abortion is traumatic to women.
Further, because of the traditional preference for boys in China, sex-selective abortion is common, and most of the aborted babies are girls. In addition, female infanticide is a problem. According to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal
, the overall sex ratio for China is 126 boys for every 100 girls.
Because of what Ms Littlejohn describes as "gendercide", there are now 37 million more men than women in China today. This gender imbalance is a major driving force behind the sexual-trafficking of women and girls in Asia.
Another consequence of this policy is that China has the highest female suicide rate of any country in the world - it is the only country in which more women than men kill themselves. According to the World Health Organisation, about 500 Chinese women a day end their lives. She suggested that China's extraordinary suicide rate for women was related to coercive family planning.
A further consequence of the one-child policy is that women convicted of breaching the country's law are forcibly sterilised, a further human rights abuse perpetrated on women, which often has life-long health complications.
She said, "In my opinion, forced abortion, forced sterilisation and infanticide as they are practised in China today constitute crimes against humanity: serious human rights atrocities that are ‘part either of a government policy ... or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government', under a standard adopted by the International Criminal Court, established in The Hague in 2002."
Those who speak out about this in China are themselves persecuted, so there is no domestic criticism of the policy. Yet occasionally, even the Chinese media publish reports which give an insight into the horrors being perpetrated.Xinhua
, the official China news agency, reported recently that crematorium workers in Guangdong province found an infant crying in the medical-waste receptacle on its way to being cremated. The workers immediately rescued the baby, and sent the infant back to the hospital. Later that day, according to Xinhua
, the hospital sent the infant back to the crematorium, dead.
Earlier this year, Xinhua
reported the grisly news that 21 bodies of foetuses and babies were found discarded in a river in East China.
Despite all this, women's organisations, and particularly feminists who have frequently denounced inequalities in the treatment of women in Western nations, have remained almost totally silent about what is happening in China.
The reasons for this are clear: radical feminists are profoundly hostile to Western society, and silent on the systematic abuse of women which takes place in China, as they are silent about the many forms of discrimination practised against women in many parts of the Islamic world, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, respectively the centres of Sunni and Shi'ite Islamic belief.