On Monday, October 19 Chinese President, Xi Jinping lands in England on a state visit, as with his recent trip to the US it’s all about expanding and strengthening economic and political influence. An objective that western governments are desperate to comply with, their economies increasingly enmeshed, and dependent upon, trade with China.
The biggest casualty in the drive to secure lucrative commercial relations has been foreign policy and the cynical and illusory promises of ‘positive engagement with China’, that we were assured would encourage and progress human rights, has been exposed as no more than political jargon. It was always a sleight-of-hand, engineered by the sharp suits at the State Department, who were already sold and bought on elevating trade above considerations of human rights. Successive Administrations promoted the concept, while an ever powerful China lobby oiled the wheels across the DC political scene. Money talks and sure as hell it screamed, and does so still to those seeing to profit from deals with China.
No doubt a similar deception was foisted upon folks in the UK, their Foreign Office, with a long history of diplomacy in China has been equally active in appeasing China’s regime, and like their counterparts in 2201 C St Northwest, Washington DC, human rights issues receive platitudes, are ignored or marginalized. Such sensitive an issue cannot after all be allowed to disturb relations, and so there will be no mention during Xi Jinping’s discussions with the British government of Tibet, East Turkistan, far too dangerous subjects, that the Chinese regime has insisted are not open for debate. Nor will a word be raised against the horrors of China’s coercive birth-control program, that has targeted women with forced-sterilizations, fines, detention, removal of housing rights and other penalties. Indeed while the Congressional Executive Commission On China has featured this issue in its 2015 report the UK Foreign Office has chosen complete silence on the subject. So much for an ethical foreign policy!
Meanwhile Tibetans and their supporters will no doubt be planning various protests during Xi Jinping’s visit, power to them, it would be naive though for anyone to expect that the British authorities will be championing the cause of Tibet, even their meager offerings on human rights simply cannot be trusted. After all how can their assurances be believed when on record they choose to ignore the harrowing medical atrocities inflicted upon women across China and occupied territories such as Tibet and East Turkistan!
It’s the international day against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and various social networking platforms are buzzing with discussions and comments in opposition to this issue. Anyone concerned with women’s human rights is naturally promoting this important event and demanding an end to the practice of FGM. The global outrage surrounding a vicious disfigurement and abuse of a woman’s freedom of control over her own body has attracted concerted and fierce opposition. Such a response contrasts starkly with the subject of China’s medical atrocities. While 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 campaigning against FGM they are virtually invisible when it comes to China’s forced sterilization of women.
Is the slicing open of a woman against her will, forcibly sterilized through such ‘surgery’, any less an atrocity 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 FGM, maintain a cold-hearted silence on the countless numbers of women forcibly sterilized by China.
While we support and respect all who are campaigning to end FGM such efforts are somewhat demeaned by the worrying absence of equivalent action against China’s program of forced sterilizations. Surely all violence against women should be equally and forcefully opposed?
Only within the self-serving, delusional double-think of the United Nations would you witness a former journalist linked to an organization that administers China’s notorious and vicious population control program announce with dead-pan seriousness that:
“We need to hold all states accountable to the promises they made 20 years ago” Source: comments quoted by @liy
Fine words, but hang-on a minute this comes from no less than Ms Cai Piying formerly employed by the All Women’s Federation Of China a national body that overseas and assists in implementing forced sterilizations across China! She reportedly issued this demand at the current Beijing+20 meeting, convened by the United Nations to assess and progress the commitments of states who were signatories to the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
These documents clearly state governments should;
“Take all appropriate measures to eliminate harmful, medically unnecessary or coercive medical interventions…” and that “Acts of violence against women also include forced sterilization and forced abortion, coercive/forced use of contraceptives…” (section D, paragraph 115).
Given that China’s Regime has forcibly sterilized untold numbers of women since then, and continues to do so, the words of Ms Cai Piying are rather hollow, or should we say cynical in that her role within such meetings is no doubt to serve the disinformation objectives of her employers!
Examining the outcomes and statements thus far from Beijing+20 and already a number of concerns have been raised. Apart from the singular silence on the issue of China’s program of forced sterilizations, which has traumatized the lives of women in China, occupied Tibet and East Turkestan, the meeting has been seen by younger women as being out-of-touch, too willing to celebrate the supposed achievements of the Beijing Declaration of 1995 and failing to make genuine progress on a range of key issues, most notably reproductive and health rights.
Anyone genuinely dedicated to championing human rights will be dismayed by the lack of exposure and advancement of such issues. They will be disappointed too at the absence of any rigorous demand for governments to protect and implement their commitments to sexual and reproductive rights, enshrined in the Beijing Declaration. As noted by one critic:
“A review conference, a celebration, is an opportunity to move forward and really get everyone to make commitments to challenge all these heads of states – not all of them are terrific – and to say that until and unless there are national action plans, until and unless there are implementation programs, we’re still going to sit here year after year and it’s not good enough.” .
Whenever the subject of reproductive rights is raised attention is naturally turned towards China, the nation that hosted the 1995 UN World Forum on Women, while across China, occupied Tibet and East Turkestan women were (and still are) denied freedom of choice or control over their own bodies are are forced to submit to the dictates of a male dominated totalitarian state. It is reasonable to consider that this issue,which so closely touches upon a central plank of feminist ideology, would be given prominent exposure? Yet there was a merciless absence of any reference to the subject, nor criticism of China’s program, which causes untold misery and suffering for millions across the Chinese Empire.
Will the suppressed and violated voices of Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur women be given exposure by Beijing+20? Can we hope to see the assembled NGOs reach a consensus and issue a forceful condemnation of such violations and call upon the Chinese government to honor the commitments it made in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action to eliminate coercive practices?
In view of the dismal record of the United Nations on the subject and the presence as guest speaker of Ms Cai Yiping the prospects of any balanced and unbiased assessment of women’s human and reproductive rights in China looks unlikely. Particularly from an individual, who in all probability was responsible for drafting propaganda for an organization that inflicts forced sterilizations upon countless numbers of women!
“By far and away the most important mass organization involved in birth planning is the Women’s Federation (fulian). In the villages, where the great majority of the population still lives, the women in charge of women’s affairs, known as “women’s heads,” have had the duty of enforcing the policy throughout their villages, which means imposing birth restrictions on their neighbors and even relatives. Given the unpopularity of the policy and the drastic measures sometimes ordered from above, enforcing the policy has been an onerous and unpleasant task at best. While grass-roots Women’s Federation cadres have been responsible for the day-to-day work of birth planning, during birth planning campaigns all the major mass organizations including those for workers, youth, and students have been enjoined to contribute to the effort to mobilize the population to achieve population-control targets”
(Source: Greenhalgh, S. & Winkler, E. 2001, 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).
Imagine hosting a conference on women’s rights in the Black townships of Soweto, and having as a prominent speaker, a supporter of the racist policies of the Apartheid Regime of South Africa! Such is the staggering hypocrisy and troubling ethical questions raised by Ms.Cai’s prominence within the Beijing+20 Forum. Perhaps however she is now committed to women’s human rights, that being so we look forward to hearing her condemnation of China’s population policies, which continue to deny and violate women’s reproductive and human rights.
“In the 1990s a very special form of lethal injection, called slow lethal injection, was perfected in China by Chinese officials as a way to preserve the organs so that the person is basically anesthetized, they don’t die right away, it gives the surgeons the time to take out as many organs as they would like to and then the lethal injection is finalized. So, it’s done in a way that actually allows this very, very unsavory mix of execution and medical care and treatment to be done by the same team of doctors. It’s horrific, really.”Source: Maria Fiatarone Singh, Professor of Medicine, Sydney University
In April 2013 Sydney University was coming intense international pressure to strip the honors it bestowed upon Doctor Huang Jiefu, a former Chinese health (sic) minister, following concerns that that he presided over the removal of organs from executed prisoners without their consent. Details here
Activists within Tibettruth were at the forefront of action in exposing this issue and challenging the University to withdraw its award to Doctor Huang, who now oversees the organ transplant committee in China. Apart from some noises that suggested that a review would be made of his honorary professorship, he retained support from some academic colleagues with Sydney University.
Fast forward to November 2014 and it is hard to find across the Internet or other media the published conclusions of such a inquiry, indeed it appears as if the matter has been brushed beneath a very thick carpet. Meanwhile suspicions remain that a man who “….as recently as November, 2012 that he continues to perform about two liver transplants every week – so that would be 100 organs a year, and using his own figures, 90 to 95 per cent of those would have come from executed prisoners.”Source
In the absence of any formal statement, it is probably safe to conclude that Sydney University has not removed its award from Doctor Huang Jiefu and as far as we can determine has not issued any comments condemning China’s medical atrocities.
Image: screenshot from SFT Facebook posting
In light of this, and considering the exposure generated we are puzzled at the decision by Students For Free Tibet (SFT) to use the venue of Sydney University for its November 7 meeting on Tibet, when that institution employs and honors China’s former ‘Minister Of Forced Organ Extractions’! We can only hope that this entirely unwise and misguided choice is relieved by SFT issuing a statement making clear its position on the matter and adding its voice to call for Sydney University to withdraw its honorary professorship to Doctor Huang.
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!