One of the great fictions subscribed to by a number of prominent Tibet related organizations is that Tibetans are exempt from the atrocities generated by China’s notorious birth-control program. Such groups form this conclusion based upon the official declarations of the Chinese regime, interviews with a handful of Tibetans or the claims of anthropologists whose career interests require a pro-China line!
Curiously such credulity towards an authority expert in deception and propaganda does not extend to other human rights issues. Seems there’s a disconnect at work, with salaried lobbyists simultaneously rejecting China’s claims that Tibetans are not subject to human rights abuses, yet willing to accept without critique assertions from the Chinese government that the grim excesses of China’s one-child policy, including forced sterilizations, are not applied in occupied Tibet!
There exists however a considerable body of detailed information, testimony and witnessed accounts that reveals Tibetans have indeed suffered such abuses and continue to do so. Moreover statements from a number of Chinese officials have over the years conceded such a reality, the most recent was featured in a report by Zee News, an Indian based news-site.
Sadly mainstream media has a tendency to repeat as factual the official pretensions served up by China’s regime, a habit much to the delight of the Ministry Of Disinformation in Beijing which uses such gullibility to spread various propaganda aimed at diluting and deflecting international concern on any range of human rights issues. Meanwhile of course the violations continue, as women in China who suffer forced sterilizations would testify.
The Zee News report however, while displaying a naivete of breathtaking proportions, reported a concession from Yang Wenzhuang that Tibet and East Turkestan had not yet relaxed the regulations pertaining to the one-child policy, now the propaganda line is that so-called ethnic minorities were exempt from such restrictions. Yet here we have a leading Minister in China’s Family Planning Commission acknowledging without qualification that these occupied territories have indeed been subject to such regulation!
What does the British ‘Foreign Office’ (the equivalent of the State Department) say about China’s policy of forced sterilizations? Well usually absolutely nothing, a tradition followed by its sister organization the ‘Department For International Development’. However there were raised hopes on the release of its 2014 Human Rights and Democracy Report which mentioned at least the issue. Yet before rushing off those congratulatory emails best to closely read what the English Mandarins decided to say on the matter:
“There were continued reports of illegal coercive implementation of family planning policies, including forced abortions and sterilisations.” (Emphasis Added) SOURCE
Well of course absolutely nothing to do with those nice folks at China’s regime, just the criminal excesses of a few over-zealous birth-control officials. right? Wrong! The British authorities know very well that the atrocities arising from China’s population control program are centrally engineered, resourced, endorsed and administered by the Chinese authorities at national, regional and local level.
So what’s behind this fact-free reference in its report? Always careful not to upset relations with China, yet mindful of increasing outrage at these human rights violations the officials of the Foreign Office concocted this as a compromise response. Imagine for one moment the grisly forced sterilizations of Nazi-Germany being dismissed by British officials as being the responsibility of Hitler’s regime and you can get near the nauseating stench of denial and hypocrisy that pervades such a cynical offering.
The ever-present motivation for such deception is trade and repairing, at times fragile relations with Beijing, the self-serving words that whitewash the suffering of countless women across China who are being forcibly sterilized, will no doubt meet the approval of the Chinese regime.
What are reproductive rights? Well if you ask the majority of women attending #csw61 in New York, (a back-slapping festival hosted by the United Nations Commission On The Status On Women-UNCSW), the response would focus on making available family planning education and resources. Which by extension enables a woman to determine freely when to give birth and how many children she wishes. The consequences of such provision include improved health, along with economic and social benefits for women currently denied such choices, that access to family planning. Not only that but in providing family planning to women it seems we can also tackle the major environmental issue of climate change, a topic that has been woven into the reproductive rights argument at recent UN discussions, partly as a political move to enhance the arguments being presented and as an encouragement for further support from within the environmental movement. If you had any doubts at the global impact of family planning as a supposed panacea to the world’s primary challenge be convinced by the words of Huffington Post contributor Diane MacEachern.
“Because ensuring that women have full reproductive rights creates one of the most desirable “two-fers” on the planet. Complete access to voluntary family planning is among the quickest, simplest, and most affordable ways to improve women’s quality of life. It is also one of the most direct, immediate and cost-effective ways to reduce climate change. In fact, studies show that slowing population growth by giving women access to the contraception they already want could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 8 and 15 percent — roughly equivalent to ending all tropical deforestation.” (Source: Women Leave Rio+20 Motivated to Galvanize Sustainability Around Family Planning and Reproductive Rights. 7.02.2012
It is an attractive and persuasive argument and no doubt embraced with zeal by environmentalists and feminists, yet in the clamor to press the logic and justice of such reasoning the debates at UN forums, while articulating reproductive rights consistently fail to address a hugely important element of women’s reproductive freedoms, a woman’s right to be able to determine, without coercion, the spacing and number of children. Now this right (which was formalized at the ICPD and is reflected in CEDAW) is purely theoretical for the countless millions of women who suffer China’s forced sterilizations and forced abortions, for them there are no reproductive freedoms, only a highly draconian and totalitarian system that enforces a range of coercive measures upon women to make them comply with the dictates of the state. Should financial penalties, arbitrary arrest, confiscation of property or loss of employment and housing rights fail women face the horrors of forced sterilization.
Unfortunately, as occurs regularly at the UNCSW, this gross violation of women’s human rights remains a taboo subject, marginalized,evaded and callously ignored by women’s NGOs during debates on reproductive rights. Yet without ensuring human rights are central to the provision of population control policies and practice, arguing for greater reproductive choice and services is divested of credibility and ethical authority. Yes reproductive rights are advanced by providing family planning resources and associated education programs, but they must also include the right of a woman not to be viciously assaulted by the state, denied control over her own body and suffer harrowing medical atrocities under the name of population control. Nor is it enough to claim such rights are enshrined in international statutes such as CEDAW and the ICPD while China enforces a program that so violently trashes those principles, yet the champions of reproductive freedoms offer not a word of opposition or condemnation. Informed and free choice yes, education and access to family planning by all means, but should not those who campaign on such issues be demanding those freedoms and services are extended to women suffering China’s population control policies?
Well are you that surprised that the UN General Assembly today voted in favor of China taking a permanent seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council? The world has observed the vomit inducing hypocrisy of that failed institution for decades, a weary resignation and sense of powerlessness has greeted the UN’s troubling record. It’s history in places such as Bosnia, Rwanda, the Congo and Afghanistan is a disgraceful litany of various atrocities, including reports of sex-trafficking, rape, extortion and corruption, hardly the glittering principles it so loudly declares! Such a resumé makes it a perfect bed-fellow for China’s regime of course, whose genocidal actions have been ignored and tolerated by the UN for decades.
China’s representatives now taking their place upon the United Nations Human Rights Council, do so contemptuously indifferent, as indeed is the Organization itself to the views of world opinion, that this appointment makes a mockery of the values and ethics upon which the UN claims to be founded. In allowing China an influential, and no doubt censorial voice on the issue of human rights, however credible it was viewed as an international guardian of human rights is seriously corroded.
We should take time-out to consider again the selective and distorted focus of the UN in regard to human rights. Most particularly as they apply to women. As readers of this Blog may know each year in New York the United Nation’s Commission On The Status Of Women (UNCSW) hosts an international meeting of representatives, and facilitates a parallel event for Non-Governmental participants to address issues of equality, human rights, education, health and justice. Did however you realize that despite being fully aware of a major violation of women’s human rights there’s one subject assiduously avoided and never featured on the agenda of the UNCSW or its NGO associates?
It may seem hard to take in, after all these bodies are dedicated to human rights principles and advancing women’s freedoms and rights, but a collective silence shrouds the subject of China’s population control program and its well documented abuse of human rights and reproductive freedoms. When informed of atrocities generated by that program, which have been reported by respected organizations such as Amnesty International, the UNCSW and women’s NGOs exhibit a staggering and callous indifference. See HEREYet various groups have since the early 1990s been submitting reports, and media accounts on the abuse suffered by women in China and occupied lands such as Tibet, East Turkestan,Southern Mongolia and Manchuria, whose lives have been blighted by the horrors of forced sterilizations.
Tibettruth too has been highly active on the issue for the past few years, lobbying participants at the UNCSW, researching and publishing briefing documents and releasing a major report on coercive birth control in occupied Tibet. Many of our friends on Twitter are engaged in raising awareness of this subject and conduct an online lobby of the UNCSW, generating an international debate and questioning the silence. Appeals and research material has been sent directly to the UNCSW, prominent representatives, and key note speakers attending its annual forum, such outreach is met with an evasion and reticence that surpasses the Free Masons!
Before anyone dismisses such a claim as exaggeration consider this, the theme of the 2013 UNCSW meeting was centered on the elimination of violence against women, and many issues were given forceful and detailed examination, apart that is from China’s forced sterilizations. Leading UN agenciesissued a declarationand absent was even an oblique mention of that gross example of violence.This disturbing unwillingness to discuss what is clearly a serious violation of human rights is not restricted to the forum of the UNCSW, indeed there would seem to exist across the fabric of United Nations an institutionalized policy that ensures no mention or criticism of China’s coercive population control program and its forced sterilizations. On June 27/28 2013 The UN held a twenty year revision of the accords and progress arising from the World Conference On Human Rights held in Vienna. This review was titled ‘Advancing The Protection Of Human Rights’ and we shall come back to its shortcomings presently, however before doing so it’s important and instructive to note that the 1993 Conference while devoting considerable attention to women’s human rights, significantly failed to include any reference to violations of reproductive rights or mention of forced sterilizations:
“38. In particular, the World Conference on Human Rights stresses the importance of working towards the elimination of violence against women in public and private life, the elimination of all forms of sexual harassment, exploitation and trafficking in women, the elimination of gender bias in the administration of justice and the eradication of any conflicts which may arise between the rights of women and the harmful effects of certain traditional or customary practices, cultural prejudices and religious extremism. The World Conference on Human Rights calls upon the General Assembly to adopt the draft declaration on violence against women and urges States to combat violence against women in accordance with its provisions. Violations of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law. All violations of this kind, including in particular murder, systematic rape, sexual slavery, and forced pregnancy, require a particularly effective response.” Source: UN World Conference On Human Rights 1993
It’s a fairly detailed list of issues yet the UN deemed that the horrors of China’s forced sterilizations were unworthy of criticism or inclusion at a conference dedicated to human rights! This illustrates not some disappointing administrative oversight by the United Nations, nor is it reflecting a lack of awareness, it is demonstration of censorship, informed by an agenda that refuses to oppose, condemn or even acknowledge China’s population control program as constituting a violation of human rights.
Let’s return to the assembled UN delegates who gathered during June 2013 to discuss the advancement of human rights, their report also included a section on women and specifically recommendations on how to oppose violence. What issues did they consider of importance for inclusion? Well again there was the generalized platitude on eliminating all forms of violence against women followed by more specific details:
“Address the intersection of gender based discrimination, poverty, socio-economic marginalization and violence, as well as the links among trafficking in human beings, corruption, terrorism, militarism, small arms and gender-based violence…Give special attention to women and girls in all situations of vulnerability and multiple
forms of discrimination who are particularly at risk of gender-based violence….Prevent and eliminate all forms of harmful practices, including female genital mutilation, and make such acts punishable in national legislation and ensure their prosecution.” Source: VIENNA+20: ADVANCING THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS Achievements, Challenges and Perspectives 20 Years after the World ConferenceJune 27/28 2013
So there we have it two decades after the first World Conference On Human Rights chose to ignore the atrocities of China’s forced sterilizations its UN successors issued another report that made no mention of these violations. Seen in parallel with the adamantine silence of the UNCSW and associated Women’s NGOs on the subject, and mindful that highly detailed information on such abuses is available, and considering too that such organizations have been lobbied on this issue for many years, we are in the presence of mindset that refuses to accept such practices as an abuse of human rights. Given such a corruption of thinking and this callous disregard for its ethical responsibility and obligations towards human rights, the United Nations while posturing as champion of individual freedoms, and issuing platitudes on Tibet, is a suitable partner in crime with China’s regime.
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.
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?