Image: courtesy of @tibettruth
During previous activities to mark International Women’s Day on the 8th March much focus was rightly given to a range of themes. Unfortunately absent from the orchestrated championing of women’s human rights has been any prominent exposure concerning communist China’s treatment of women, and in particular its coercive population-control program. This year’s program looks likely to again ignore China’s sate engineered violence against women, indeed the only visible reference to China on the International Women’s Day website is a trumpeting that this day is a Chinese national holiday, hardly a cause for celebration given the harrowing reality of China’s targeting of women for forced sterilizations.These atrocities grossly violate the principle of freedom of choice and a woman’s right to control over her own body. In occupied Tibet, East Turkestan, Southern 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.
The extent of these state-engineered abuses is staggering, yet the collective apathy from the women’s movement 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 silence! How can supposed feminists claim to be genuinely concerned about human rights and 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 organisations, 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 singular lack of integrity.
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).
Perhaps others may hold all things Chinese, or socialist, in fond regard and so shunt any inconvenient or odious manifestations of that culture or 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 destabilize a perspective that places economic rights above other freedoms. Surely all are equal and interdependent?
Consideration should also be given to the health of bank-balances, which for some women’s organisations may well have prospered considerably. As the saying goes ‘Silent Mouths Stuffed with Gold’ and one can only wonder to what degree the cynical and adamantine silence which has surrounded this issue is explained by merciless self-interest. 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. It’s nearly eighteen years 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 groups, 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 organizations which boycotted the event the violations resulting from the program remain; forced sterilizations, torture, arbitrary arrests, forced abortions and infanticide.
Well one action you may wish to consider is contacting International Women’s Day and ask them, why each year they and their associates are silent on the subject of China’s forced sterilizations? They maybe contacted via Twitter at @womensday
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,Congressional Committe on China, 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 acknowledged 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 no reason to look forward to International Women’s Day.
This Uyghur woman became another victim of China’s forced sterilization program
“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! Yet such violence is a central element in China’s population program and has traumatised countless women across the communist Chinese Empire. Sadly in the time since the Beijing Conference on Women all we have had is silence, how can anyone truly committed to the rights of women claim to be concerned about human rights, yet ignore or deny the plight of women subject to this brutality? Faced with years of in-action and evasion it seems we dealing, not with an absence of evidence, but a singular lack of integrity.” Extract from the Tibettruth Submission to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. View Here
From February 27 New York City will be the destination for a large number of female activists campaigning on a range of issues from women’s human rights to social and educational issues. In addition to that major international event a NGO women’s conference will also take place at which a number of key subjects relating to women’s rights will feature, enabling NGOs to submit ideas and raise concerns with the 56th Session of United Nations Commission On The Status Of Women (UNCSW56) conference
Absent however from both these events will be any examination of the abuses suffered by women as a consequence of China’s coercive population control program. Indeed in the months of preparations for the UNCSW 56 this major human rights subject has received virtually no attention from Women’s NGOs, despite the fact such organizations are aware of the atrocities inflicted upon women across the Chinese Empire.In 2010 Tibettruth drafted and distributed a document, which was submitted to the UNCSW and Women’s organizations.
You can read/download the document in full Here
It would be extremely helpful if you would contribute to the effort to ensure this issue is not concealed and ignored by sharing this with friends and colleagues. Thank you for your continuing support and interest.
Whenever America’s banker flies into DC there’s a scramble to the wardrobes by the folks on the hill to find a suitably complimentary color, a clear leader in this obsequious race is Hillary Clinton, whose eye for an outfit never fails to impress. As China’s Vice President Xi Jinping met with U.S. Secretary of State for a luncheon yesterday Hillary was resplendent in a eye-watering red jacket. Politics and low fashion collided in an effort to make China’s next President feel right at home, and what better way than to be dressed in the color so appreciated by the Chinese Communist Party. Officials at the State Department appear to have been busy getting up to speed with China’s favored decorations for such occasions, which usually involve masses of artificial or natural flowers in various combinations of red and yellow. This charming combination had clearly not escaped the attention of covert operations who dutifully briefed staff at the Department on which color scheme would send the right psycho-graphic message to Mr Jinping, which no doubt explains the various items and shades which dominate in the photograph above!
It’s a stressful few days for Hillary, apart from the priority of having to fawn over the Chinese delegation and attend to the seemingly endless guest list of corporate heads all seeking a chance of grovelling before Xi Jinping, watched over by that éminence grise of US-China relations, Henry Kissinger, she is scheduled on Thursday February 16 to present the opening address at a conference to commemorate the Ninth Anniversary of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. Organized by the State Department and held at the aesthetically pleasing surroundings of Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room, it is an important event highlighting a troubling violation of human rights. A number of prominent guest will also be giving speeches, following presentations by Joe Crowley and Hillary’s go to lady, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer. These include, Molly Melching, Founder and Director of the non-governmental organization Tostan; Imam Mohamed Magid, President of the Islamic Society of North America; Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, General Manager of the German non-governmental organization Association for Crisis Assistance and Development Co-operation (WADI); Nafissatou J. Diop Director of the United Nations Population Fund and United Nations International Children’s Fund Joint Programme on FGM/C; and Zeinab Eyega, Executive Director of the Sauti Yetu Center for African Women.
Anyone concerned with women’s human rights will of course welcome this meeting and its objectives in terms of ending the practice of FGM and raising awareness of this harrowing subject, that it has established an international day of opposition reflects the degree of concern and political importance it has attracted, commanding the supported by Hillary and her Department. Of course Secretary Clinton is no stranger to issues of women’s human rights, and has on occasion spoken out on that equally disturbing issue, China’s policy of forcible sterilizations, on one memorable occasion, prior to the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing.
Apart however from such isolated criticisms a veil of silence and indifference surrounds the subject of China’s medical atrocities, this contrasts markedly with the response to female genital mutilation, to which feminists. women’s NGOs and bodies such as the United Nations Fund for Population and United Nations Commission On The Status of Women are rightly opposed. It is a vicious disfigurement and abuse of a woman’s freedom of control over her own body.to cut that area of female anatomy for the purposes of cultural practice has attracted concerted and fierce opposition.
What is disappointing is that the same people (including invited speakers at the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation) are utterly silent on China’s mass programs of forced sterilizations. Yet, is the slicing open of a woman against her will, forcibly sterilized through such ‘surgery’, any less barbarous than the practice of FGM? Clearly not as both constitute a violent abuse of women’s human rights. Yet the influential and agitated voices of condemnation on female genital mutilation, many of who will be attending the meeting, maintain a cold hearted silence on the countless numbers of women forcibly sterilized by China.
While we congratulate Ms Clinton for her championing of human rights and support this event, its moral integrity is demeaned by the worrying absence of an equivalent day of action against China’s program of forced sterilizations. How about it Hillary? Will the State Department organize an International Day of Zero Tolerance to China’s Forced Sterilizations?
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Image: courtesy of @AnonymousTibet
Once again the British Foreign Office (equivalent to the State Department) has chosen to ignore entirely the issue of forced sterilizations in its latest Human Rights Country Report On China. Not a single mention of this major violation of women’s human rights, the report, along with the cynical omission of this issue, may be seen HERE
This Department has been presented detailed material on this harrowing subject for many years and is acutely aware of the horrors it inflicts upon Chinese, Uyghur,Tibetan, Mongolian and Manchurian women. It is however more concerned with trade considerations and appeasing China to facilitate ‘positive relations’ even at the expense of ignoring the reality of these sickening atrocities.
Communist China’s head of forced sterilizations, Ms. Li Bin, has been over in England for the past couple of days and presented a talk, Wednesday May 19, at Marie Stopes International’s (MSE) London headquarters. No doubt the Minister of China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission was warmly received by the multi-lateral population agency, which works inside communist China, yet would appear oblivious to the horrifying women’s human rights violations caused by China’s coercive birth-control policies. Like its ‘sister’ organizations the United Nations Fund for Population and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, MSE though acutely aware of China’s program of forced sterilizations and forced abortions, which have traumatized countless women in China and occupied regions such as Tibet and East Turkestan, seems unable to offer a word of public condemnation, concern or opposition to such medical atrocties. See PDF Article Here A protest was organized by Tibet supporters in England, although bizarrely organizers went out-of-their way to state that they were not targetting Marie Stopes International, an organization which by its silence, and open support of the Chinese population program, surely merits criticism and challenge?
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On April 26 2010 teams of population control officers and security personnel scoured the city of Puning City in China’s Guangdong Province, searching for women who had been designated by the state for forced sterilization. Officials were extremely anxious to meet the deadline, imposed by the communist authorities, to ensure that nearly ten thousand women be sterilized. Like all mass-sterilization programs, this event had been months in the planning, indeed as China was assuring delegates at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (during March) that it was committed to women’s rights, officials within its National Population and Family Planning Commission and the All China Women’s Federation were targeting women for forced-sterilization. The official requirements are always chillingly clear, as demonstrated by the following order issued for a similar campaign of forced sterilizations:
“From the beginning to the end, each village and town must give the highest priority to the tubal-ligation of women who have given birth to two girls, especially within those villages where these women have not yet had their tubes tied. We must demonstrate dogged determination and to the bodies of every cadre. Set the time and set the assignment. On multiple levels and using different channels, we should obtain information on spouses who are attempting to flee the county. By hook or crook, we must carry out contraceptive measures and every village must meet at least one of its target assignments.” (Speech made by Tian Xiangrong 31 July 2006 Tongwei County Government (Online—As Documented in the US Congressional Executive Commission on China-Annual Report 2008.)
There is of course no freedom of choice, no individual rights which may protect any woman who decides not be to sterilized, the options are to comply or suffer the grim consequences. These include financial penalties, withdrawal of certain housing or employment privileges, confiscation of property and goods, arbitrary detention, emotional and psychological abuse. Should that catalog of oppression fail to produce compliance, women are physically coerced and then forcibly sterilized. Anyone seeking to flee from such persecution may find her family members are arrested and held hostage by the state, as reportedly occurred within Puning City.
The harrowing events in Guangdong Province received wide media exposure and was publicly challenged and condemned by Amnesty International http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/thousands-risk-forced-sterilization-china-2010-04-22 It is unlikely that Women’s Non-Governmental Organizations, or activists within the global feminist community would have been unaware that some ten thousand women in Puning City were being forcibly sterilized. Yet across the internet there was a deafening silence, no outraged response or condemnation, it was as if feminism had ruled that this atrocity had never happened. Sadly those who champion women’s rights have a long history of denial and silence when it comes to the dark and violent nature of China’s population program. Stretching back beyond the UN Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, despite being made aware of such medical atrocities, the overwhelming response has been to maintain a collective omertá.
Central to feminist ideology is that a woman has the right of freedom-of- choice, yet it would appear that there are other values enshrined within feminism that eclipse that principal right, and may serve to explain why women, who so passionately espouse women’s human rights , seem unable to utter a word of criticism against China’s forced sterilizations. There is an active and occasionally interesting debate on feminist issues happening across Twitter and one recent post was fairly illuminating, in that it set in motion a train-of-thought about possible reasons for feminism’s troubling silence on China’s population atrocities. The person asserted that: “Any woman having a large family is a traitor to feminism”. is this the fundamentalist aspect of feminist thinking which ‘dare not speak its name’?
It’s difficult to see how such aggressive and intolerant bigotry could evolve from feminism’s laudable objectives; promoting women’s human rights, attaining gender, economic, social and educational equality. Unless of course those comments reflect an existing , yet under exposed, fundamentalist mindset within feminism. A fossilized dogma, callously intolerant of anything regarded as preventing the progress and realization of feminism’s prized goals. It has been asked elsewhere if feminism considers having children to be a barrier to a woman achieving her full economic, social or educational potential, if such thinking exists does that have a relationship with feminist indifference to the suffering of women in China who are being forcibly sterilized? It may well be that feminism values the sterilization of women as affording an opportunity to be free from the constraints (as they may argue) of family and children, an advancement of the cause through population control measures, that seemingly empower women as individuals. Enabling the pursuit of education and employment and supporting the female potential, minus, what the prevailing feminist orthodoxy may suggest, are the disabling limitations imposed by child and family.
While no one would oppose progression for women in such areas, it is distasteful to observe a relative handful of prominent , mostly western female activists, silently championing the sterilization of women in China on the troubling reasoning that it will permit economic, educational and social progress for women. Apart from the somewhat colonialist and patronizing tone of such thinking, it clearly relegates human rights below considerations of economic, educational and gender equality. The message is clear, any measures, including forced sterilizations which grossly violate a woman’s right to freedom-of-choice (a central tenet of feminism), that serve the objective of extreme feminist thinking is acceptable. The ideology of securing equality for women has clearly blinded feminist thinking to the harrowing realities of China’s population program, and in so doing exposed feminism as being in shameful denial and ethically bankrupt. As demonstrated by the complete silence on the issue from over seven thousand women’s rights advocates attending the 58th United Nation’s Commission On The Status Of Women, not one of whom has expressed on social media a word against China’s forced sterilizations, feminist thinking cares more for its dogma than women in China, Tibet or East Turkestan. Remaining entirely unmoved by the reality of women being tied onto medical slabs and forcibly sterilized, and in denial on the troubling contradiction of advocating a woman’s right to freedom-of-choice, while refusing to campaign for the right not to be sterilized!