Delhi, India The hunger-strike demanding United Nations’ action on Tibet enters its third day.
Many female activists today celebrate International Women’s Day and may be arranging last minute travel arrangements to attend the United Nations’ Commission On The Status Of Women’s meeting (CSW59) beginning March 9. Meanwhile in a world far away from the chrome and tinted glass gatherings scheduled to reflect on two decades since the Beijing Declaration was agreed; which in theory secured and advanced women’s human rights, in occupied Tibet and indeed China itself women continue to be subject to a range of disturbing human rights atrocities.
On Friday March 6, in the Ngaba area of Amdo region of occupied Tibet, a 40 year-old woman, named as Norchuk died following her self-immolation protest against the illegal and violent occupation by China of her homeland. Her body was confiscated by Chinese paramilitary and hastily cremated, denying her relatives any chance to conduct traditional Buddhist ritual.
Her sacrifice and the oppressed condition of women inside Tibet though is absent from the Twitter streams on the subject of International Women’s Day and CSW59, you will find virtually no mention of the suffering relating to Tibetan women. Nor indeed reference to China’s forced sterilizations, a gross violation of women’s human rights that has been greeted by evasion, silence and denial from the mass ranks of the ‘Concerned Sisterhood’.
The same day that Norchuk offered up her life a team of Chinese security police raided the Beijing home of activist Ms Li Tingting and arrested her. Yet a deafening silence seems to have greeted news that she and three other Chinese female activists, who were planning to hold a peaceful protest in Beijing against sexual harassment, have been jailed, their whereabouts presently unknown and facing possibly disturbing consequences. http://www.livenewspak.com/china-detains-at-least-4-feminists-ahead-of-international-womens-day/ Despite this latest example of state oppression against women by China’s regime instead of outrage and opposition from those attending the CSW59 we witness a callous indifference.
Will anyone attending the CSW59 meeting raise a word in protest or concern about such injustice? Can we hope that the tyranny, inequality and marginalization suffered by Tibetan women since China invaded Tibet in 1950 will be condemned? Is it likely that women’s NGOs will be speaking out against China’s vicious policy of population control, in which women are brutally denied the most basic of rights and forcibly sterilized? What words of opposition will be made against the censorship, and torture that targets any women who express the slightest dissent against the grim excesses of the Chinese regime?
Women do not enjoy human rights under the totalitarian nightmare enforced by the Chinese regime, there exists only fear, pain, repression, censorship, you comply to the dictates of the state or suffer the consequences. That their plight is consistently ignored, denied and evaded by women NGO’s and the United Nations, makes a mockery of any claim that such bodies are dedicated to championing women’s human rights.
Graphic from @tibettruth
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.
Editor’s Note: Folks this post is by necessity detailed and features various links for cross reference, given the nature of the topic being examined we have no choice but opt for such a disclosure. We hope you will take time to go through this with care and attention which will will appraise you of the extent of censorship and appeasement that infests the United Nations with regard to China’s notorious population control program and its deeply disturbing atrocities.
The United Nation’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) concluded November 7 its fifty-ninth session in which it adopted concluding observations and recommendations on China. It’s central purpose was to establish how China implements the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. A somewhat misplaced exercise, rather like asking a clinically certified pyromaniac how his aversion to flames is progressing! The facts would always be in short supply from a regime notorious for censorship, evasion and deceit, especially when considering that China’s representative was Ms. Song Xiuyan. She is executive member of China’s communist party, Minister and Vice-Chairperson of National Committee on Women and Children under the State Council China, and vice Chairman (sic) 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.
She knows about Tibet having (until January 2010) been a so-called Governor in Amdo, one of occupied Tibet’s three regions (re-named by communist China’s regime as Qinghai Province). During her time there Ms Song displayed a racist intolerance towards Tibetan culture and was deeply resented by Tibetans, particularly given her reportedly close political relationship with China’s former President Hu Jintao. Whose hands are covered in Tibetan blood. According to one well-informed Tibetan source Ms. Song was publicly dismissive of Tibetan culture, an attitude that was reflected in her draconian term of office in the region. It was reported that on occasion she demanded that newly constructed government buildings, including schools, be rebuilt, if they included traditional Tibetan features!
It is not just Ms Song Xiuyan’s barely concealed racism that is troubling, but the organization of which she is joint head, the All China Women’s Federation, whose automaton-like members 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. Such harrowing violations are all committed in loyal obedience to China’s communist party ideology. Anyone wishing to learn more about the ACWF’s complicity and implementation of these atrocities is advised to read Susan Greenhalgh’s Chinese State Birth Planning in the 1990s And Beyond
Ms Song Xiuyan who has been warmly received on previous occasions by the UN Commission on the Status of Women and headed China’s delegation at the 59th CEDAW Session and once again managed to largely evade and lie on the subject of forced-sterilizations, an atrocity which the United Nations and Women’s NGOs are virtually silent upon.
Image:archivenet/graphic from @tibettruth
Having carefully examined the documents associated with the latest CEDAW report on China we regret to inform readers that once again those within the UN who claim to be champions of women’s human rights have chosen to marginalize and dilute the issue. So let’s take a look at what was stated, we begin March 10, 2014 when CEDAW published a list of issues it linked directly with China, that would be addressed in its forthcoming reports.See HERE In a section on violence against women there was no mention of China’s forced sterilization program, as we have revealed previously the UN clearly does not regard the issue as constituting a violent act against women. There are just three very slanted references which petition the Chinese authorities for a response, the first features in a section on Stereotypes and harmful practices
“Please indicate how the laws against sex-selective abortion, forced sterilization and female infanticide are monitored and enforced?”
The next appears in a section on health, paragraph 18 includes this curiously selective request of the Chinese authorities:
“Please also provide information on the progress made to combat forced abortions, and reported forced sterilization of transgender women”
The next paragraph asks of China:
“Please explain the measures taken to combat the phenomenon of forced abortions and sterilization of pregnant women who test positive for HIV”
Image:remkotanis/graphic from @tibettruth
These somewhat circumscribed and distorted appeals could not have been more precisely engineered to avoid China facing questions on the staggering scale of forced sterilizations that’s traumatizing countless numbers of women across China and illegally occupied territories such as Tibet, East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia. We can only conclude that the executives within CEDAW and their colleagues in the UN Commission On The Status Of Women are unconcerned with the plight of millions of women across China who are neither positive for HIV or transgender, that face or who suffer being dragged from their homes and being forcibly sterilized, courtesy of the very organization headed by the Chinese Minister so generously applauded by CEDAW in its report’s opening comments!
Note the willingness to accept the existence and practice of supposed laws on countering forced-sterilizations, how naive is CEDAW in swallowing the official propaganda of China’s Regime on the issue. The various cynical assurances offered by China, along with various legislation on the subject offer no genuine protection and meanwhile women continue to be subject to forced sterilizations. Can you imagine say the International Red Cross agreeing to question reports of forced sterilizations in Nazi Germany and then proceeding to ask Heinrich Himmler for a progress report without demanding to know the full extent of such atrocities, how many women were targeted, or evidence of those responsible being prosecuted! In constructing such a singular and specific questions CEDAW has enabled the Chinese Regime to circumvent the major concerns relating to its coercive population control program and the medical atrocities it inflicts. As usual it was aided by an unquestioning mainstream media which chose not to report on the glaring deficiencies and instead placed a positive, if misleading spin that focused on Chinese intimidation of activists See HERE
Against this background we awaited with interest the November 7 publication of CEDAW’s China report and its recommendations, so let’s go see what has been said on the subject
“Stereotypes and harmful practices 24. The Committee recalls its previous concluding observations (CEDAW/C/CHN/CO/6, para. 17) and remains concerned at the persistence of deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and society, as reflected in the tradition of son-preference, resulting in the adverse sex-ratio by means of illegal sex-selective abortion as well as illegal practices of forced abortion and sterilisation (sic) and infanticide of girls.” (emphasis added) see HERE
Excuse us?! So let’s get this right shall we, the UN’s CEDAW rests responsibility for forced sterilizations, not on a centrally authorized, funded and engineered population control program but as a consequence of societal and stereotype factors? Just in case anyone was unsure if the UN was choosing to paint these harrowing atrocities as nothing but isolated criminal events, unrelated to the policies of the Chinese authorities, it followed up that reference with these comments:
“25. The Committee…… urges the State party to..(b) Intensify the implementation of existing legal measures to address sex-selective abortions, forced abortions, sterilisations (sic) and infanticide of girls” see HERE
Given the continuing censorship and evasion shown towards this major human rights issue, served by the political agendas of member states, we cannot expect any critique and certainly no examination of China’s continuing violation of women’s human rights or its mass campaigns of forced sterilizations suffered by countless women. CEDAW has again failed.
Graphic courtesy of @tibettruth
The recently appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein is to visit occupied Tibet, with a possible trip to East Turkestan, (Report Here) the presumed purpose of his journey is to witness for himself the situation facing the oppressed Tibetan and Uyghur peoples. Unfortunately as with other fact-finding delegations (https://tibettruth.com/2013/09/21/updated-the-sham-of-fact-finding-delegations-to-occupied-tibet/) permitted by the Chinese authorities he will be seeing very little apart from stage-managed propaganda!
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?