Zero Tolerance On Feminism’s Selective Outrage

State Department February 14, 2012

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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.

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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?

UK Foreign Office Regards China’s Forced Sterilizations Not Violation Of Human Rights

 

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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.

Welcome To Marie Stopes Madame Sterilization

China’s Forced Sterilization Minister-Ms Li Bin

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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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Feminism’s Support of China’s Forced Sterilizations

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/thousands-risk-forced-sterilization-china-2010-04-22

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!

Thousands More Chinese Women Suffer Forced Sterilizations

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This is Ms. Meng Xiaosi, member of China’s communist party, Minister and Vice-Chairperson of National Committee on Women and Children under the State Council China,  and vice president of the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF), a national organization that enforces China’s notorious population control policies upon women in China, and occupied Tibet and East Turkestan. In March this year she was being congratulated by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and Women’s NGOs attending the CSW Meeting in New York, ironically to discuss the supposed progress of the Bejing Declaration and Platform for Action (UN organized instruments to advance and scure women’s human, social, medical and economic rights).

She will no doubt be applauding the recent order (April 7  2010) to sterilize nearly 10, 000 women in China’s Southern Guangdong Province,  http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/thousands-risk-forced-sterilization-china-2010-04-22 in which have specialist 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 communist China’s regime.  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 ideological stormtroopers of  Ms Meng Xiaosi’s All China Women’s Federation infest every village, town and city, and  are responsible at a local level for the enforcement of the population program. Through a spiral of intimidation and coercion they trample over women’s human and reproductive rights to meet Government population targets, imposing fines, organizing education campaigns, withdrawing employment and housing rights, and if such bullying fails, forcibly sterilizing women.

As a leading communist Chinese Minister, with responsibility for women, and particularly her role in the All China Women’s Federation, would mean in all likely-hood that Meng Xiaosi has played a prominent role in planning and authorizing China’s latest population control tyranny, which has attracted international attention and condemnation from human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.

“Forced sterilisation amounts to torture, and it is appalling that the authorities are subjecting people to such an invasive procedure against their will. Reports that relatives are imprisoned as a means of pressurising couples into submitting to surgery are incredibly concerning. The Puning City authorities must condemn this practice immediately and ensure that others are not forcibly sterilised.” (Kate Allen Director of Amnesty International UK)

Such harrowing atrocities are all committed in loyal obedience to China’s communist party ideology. Anyone wishing to learn more about the ACWF is advised to read Susan Greenhalgh’s : Governing China’s Population: From Leninist to Neoliberal Biopolitics 2005 or  Chinese State Birth Planning in the 1990s and Beyond, Resource Information Center, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), US Department of Justice, Perspective Series, September, pp.77-79 –Attachment 17)

Ms Meng had addressed the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which in March conducted its fifteen year review of the Beijing Declaration, a toothless instrument that, among a range of other areas, supposedly committed China to eradicate coercive practices relating to reproductive health. The sad and tragic reality is that since 1995 the abuses have continued, engineered and authorized by China’s regime. These have been ignored by the compassion-less eyes of the CSW and many women’s NGOs, who assembled to review the doubtful progress and achievements of the Declaration.

In advance of this review member states were invited to complete a questionnaire on the implementation (and related issues) to the Bejing Declaration; to which China was a signatory, having agreed by its ratification to eliminate coercive practices such as forced sterilizations. Beijing’s response was a masterwork of evasion and propaganda, that carefully avoided any reference to reproductive rights and its population program. See here: http://tibettruth.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/chinascswresponse.pdf

The chilling reality is that as Ms Meng Xiaosi was deceiving the UNCSW and Women’s NGOs http://www.china-un.org/eng/hyyfy/t661449.htm her colleagues at the All China Women’s Federation and Ministry for Population Control were coldly planning the mass sterilization of thousands more Chinese women in Guangdong Province! It is the duty of those committed to women’s human rights to stand up and challenge this latest terror waged against women’s reproductive freedoms and human rights, to join the campaign to expose the suffering of women in China, Tibet and East Turkestan.

 

International Women’s Day

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Monday March 8th is International Women’s Day. It also opens the last week of the Beijing+15 Review by the Commission on The Status Of Women in New York, an event which has witnessed a range of subjects  being debated, condemned and exposed. Sadly the issue of China’s program of forced sterilizations has received no such interest, which is extremely disappointing as this constitutes a major violation of women’s human and reproductive rights.

During the conference Tibetruth has been very fortunate to cooperate  with some extraordinary women, who share a genuine concern that this subject is ignored by the CSW and some NGO’s. Every effort must be made to support and encourage that enlightened and committed minority, it is not a shortage of documentation or evidence, but a political and ideological resistance which must be challenged. A demand that the CSW return to basic principles and act with  integrity and compassion, by recognizing that these atrocities are a violent assualt upon women’s rights. If it is to retain any ethical or moral authority, with respect to women’s issues, it cannot continue to callously ignore China’s state engineered terrorism against women.

Tibettruth would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all our friends and supporters on Twitter and Facebook, who have been inspiring and generous in their action on this issue. To women-of-the-world, celebrate this important date, in doing so however please spare a moment to consider the plight of women in China and occupied nations such as Tibet and East Turkestan.

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Shameful Silence And Complicity Of The CSW

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Tibettruth offers on-line campaigns, news and factual information on a range of human rights themes. Prominent among these is 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 and communist China women are denied these freedoms and subject to the dictate of a regime that inflicts a series of draconian penalties; including financial/mental/physical coercion, including forced sterilizations. The extent and nature of these abuses is staggering, yet what is equally alarming is the uncaring reaction of the Commission On The Status Of Women and its NGO Committee. One can only imagine the reaction if women in Germany were subject to a population progam that witnessed women dragged from their home,  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 programme and has traumatised countless women across the communist Chinese Empire and yet all we have from the Commission on the Status of Women and its NGO Committee is silence. How can any balanced and intelligent feminist claim to be genuinely concerned about human rights, and yet ignore or deny the plight of women subject to this brutality? Following fifteen years (since the Beijing Declaration of 1995) of in-action and fudging from the CSW it seems we dealing, not with a lack-of-evidence, but a singular lack of compassion and integrity.

True, it is an appalling subject and perhaps too horrific for some, understandable psychology to pretend its not happening, although such denial could be argued to be ethically troubling.  For others it would appear that reducing global population levels is worth any price, including human rights violations (even the devastated lives of our sisters in Tibet, East Turkestan and Communist China). Others among may hold all things communist/socialist 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 very easy for some to be driven by their chosen world-view to the exclusion of facts, particularly those which may destabilise a perspective that places economic, educational rights above other equally important freedoms. Surely all are equal and interdependent?

Whatever the reasoning,  this issue lies at the core of feminist ideology, touching, as it does, on a woman’s rights to freedom-of-choice and control over her own our own body. Such fundamental freedoms do not exist under communist Chinese rule, the state’s needs are seen as greater than those of the individual. It’s fifteen years since delegates arrived in Beijing for the UN Conference fuelled by the noble vision of furthering women’s rights. 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 that involvement in the Beijing Conference would help moderate the grim excesses of China’s totalitarian machine and improve the plight of women. As was predicted by those organisations which boycotted the event, the violations resulting from the program have remain; forced sterilisations, torture, arbitrary arrests, forced abortions, and infanticide.

Yet however abhorrent this harrowing human rights record may be, what is equally offensive is the cold-blooded indifference which has greeted this issue. In keeping a shameful silence on the plight of Muslim-Uighur, Tibetan and Chinese women, those who are aware of this major violation of women’s rights are concealing these atrocities. The Commission on the Status of Women (and its associated NGO Committee) have consistently ignored and avoided this issue, and  refused to campaign in support of their sisters traumatized by the harrowing violence of China’s program of forced sterilizations. The traumatised women of  East Turkestan, Tibet and communist China have little to thank them for, and no reason to celebrate the forthcoming International Women’s Day.

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