During activities to mark this year’s International Women’s Day much focus was rightly given to a range of human rights themes, unfortunately absent from the orchestrated championing of women’s human rights was any prominent exposure concerning communist China’s treatment of women, and in particular its coercive population-control program. Which as is now well known grossly violates the principle of freedom of choice and a woman’s right to control over her own body. In occupied Tibet, East Turkestan, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria and communist China women are denied these freedoms and subject to the dictate of a male-dominated regime that inflicts a series of draconian penalties; including financial/mental/physical coercion, forced sterilizations and forced abortions.
On April 7, 2010 in China’s Southern Guangdong Province nearly 10, 000 more women were targetted by the communist regime for forced sterilizations, http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=18720 with population control units been coercing, arresting, detaining thousands of women, and performing almost 24 hour ‘birth control surgeries’ in an effort to meet population quotas demanded by the Chinese authorities. A report from Amnesty International UK noted that:
“Local officials aim to sterilise 9, 559 people by 26 April, some against their will, in a drive to meet family planning targets in Puning City, Guangdong Province, southern China…The local authorities claim that by the end of 11 April, the 20-day campaign had already met 50 per cent of its target. A local doctor, quoted in the Chinese media, said that his team was working from 8am until 4am the next day performing surgeries for sterilisation. Local reports suggest at least some people are not freely consenting to being sterilised“
The extent of these state-engineered abuses is staggering, yet the collective apathy from women’s NGOs and activists is puzzling and alarming. Imagine the response if just one woman was dragged from her home in Washington DC, Paris or London, beaten, tied to a medical slab and forcibly sterilised. There would be riots on the streets and rightly so! Such barbarity is a central element in China’s population program and has traumatised countless women across the communist Chinese Empire, and yet all we have from the concerned sisterhood is evasion and silence! How can any feminist claim to be genuinely concerned about human rights, yet ignore or deny the plight of women subject to this brutality?
What possible motivation or reasons may begin to understand such a troubling position? We must firstly discount any absence of evidence or testimony, as a wealth of detailed documentation has been assembled over the years, and material continues to emerge. Much of this has been made available to a number of women’s organizations, yet the indifference remains. Faced with years of in-action and fudging from women’s groups it seems we dealing, not with an absence of evidence, but a callous political correctness.
On an individual emotional level this is indeed an appalling subject and perhaps too horrific for some, better perhaps to pretend its not happening? For others not softened by such humanity it would appear that reducing global population levels is worth any price, including human rights violations (even the devastated lives of women across Tibet, East Turkestan and Communist China). The appalling violations of China’s forced sterilizations may well suffer from a conflation with the toxically charged abortion debate in the United States.Perhaps others hold all things communist in fond regard, and so shunt any inconvenient or odious manifestations of that dogma into a siding, far away from any prying conscience. It appears easy for some, driven by their chosen world-view, to exclude any fact, which may destabilise a perspective that places economic rights above other freedoms. Surely all are equal and interdependent?
Whatever the reasoning this issue lies at the sensitive core of feminist ideology, touching, as it does, on freedom of choice and women having control over their own bodies. Such fundamental rights do not exist under communist Chinese rule, the state’s needs are seen as greater than those of the individual. 2010 marked the fifteenth year since delegates arrived in Beijing for the UN Conference on Women, fuelled by the noble vision of furthering women’s rights.
Yet during that time the systematic abuse against women has continued, making a mockery of the recommendations and agreements of the Platform for Action and Beijing Declaration. We were assured by the massed ranks of women’s NGO’s who attended, that active engagement with the Beijing Conference would help moderate the grim excesses of China’s totalitarian machine and improve the plight of women. As predicted by those organisations which boycotted the event, the violations resulting from the program remain; forced sterilisations, torture, arbitrary arrests, forced abortions and infanticide.
However abhorrent this harrowing human rights issue, what is equally offensive is the cold-blooded response, which is shared by a considerable section of prominent women academics, campaigners and organizations. In remaining silent on the plight of Muslim-Uighur, Tibetan and Chinese women their inaction attracts the charge of complicity in a deliberate effort to conceal these atrocities.
Unlike the US Senate, Amnesty International USA/UK, the British Medical Association, UK Parliamentary Foreign Parliamentary Committee and many other leading human rights groups and individuals, such as Dr Harry Wu, all of whom have acknowledge and condemned theses violations, many women’s organizations seem unwilling to engage this issue or campaign in support of their ‘sisters’. The traumatised women of East Turkestan, Tibet and communist China have little to thank them for and will no doubt be disappointed that such organizations declined toffer a single voice of condemnation against China’s latest campaign of forced sterlizations.
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