As November 25th has been designated the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women our sense of solidarity towards this event and the objectives it champions is tainted by a troubling reality.
The very United Nations agencies behind this event, UN Women and UN Commission on the Status of Women are the same organizations which have knowingly and consistently ignored China’s program of forced sterilizations against women. Along with the wider women’s ‘movement’ and prominent NGOs, supposedly dedicated to women’s rights, they pose themselves as defenders of such freedoms and human rights across social media. Yet have cynically refused to condemn or oppose a range of violations inflicted by the Chinese regime.
These include:a policy of forcing Uyghur women into marriages with Han Chinese colonizers of occupied East Turkistan (so-called Xinjiang). Coercing Uyghur women to accept Chinese officials cohabiting their homes and sleeping with them, in essence rape! Detaining thousands of Uyghur women in forced labor and indoctrination camps where they face emotional, physical and psychological abuse. The placement of Uyghur girls,many infants into detention centers where they are denied access to their parents and forced and brainwashed to adopt Chinese language and cultural identity. A program of forced sterilizations which targets Uyghur, Tibetan, Manchurian, Mongolian and Han Chinese women.
This harrowing catalogue of violations does not trouble those who would have you accept them as being defenders of women’s rights, it’s not ignorance of these disturbing abuses which explains their collective silence. The reason is one of political correctness, selective values and agenda that refuse to stand against such atrocities, this is a singular example of silence is complicity. The hypocrisy and denial such organizations present on these issues is breathtaking and questions entirely their credibility and ethical standing.
As we write this post, in various regions of the world women’s NGOs are assembling to prepare for next year’s UN Commission On The Status Of Women which marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995).
Contained within that declaration the following is urged of governments to:
“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).
Yet the very same NGOs who will no doubt be praising the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action offer not a word of concern against China’s violations against women’s human and reproductive rights. Since 1995 Women’s organizations and UNCSW have been exposed and challenged for choosing to maintain a silence, offering no criticism, nor condemnation of such medical atrocities. Even though the UN agreement they worked towards, endorsed and approved in 1995 calls for action against such violations!
Which is why the same organizations will care little about the testimony of Ms Mehrigul Tursun a Uyghur who escaped from a Chinese regime detention center in occupied East Turkistan (so-called Xinjiang). Last November she documented to the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) a range of human rights abuses she had suffered during her imprisonment. These included forced separation from her thee children, all of whom died in Chinese custody and had been medically operated on without her knowledge or approval. She was detained three times and detailed to the CECC being tortured, beaten and electrocuted. Mehrigul also disclosed that on arrival in the USA a full medical examination confirmed that she had also been sterilized! Atrocities which she presented to an Amnesty International conference in Tokyo earlier this month.
As the 63rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women closes today and women activists and NGOs hug their last goodbyes to New York City, we’re disappointed to report that once again the defenders of women’s rights have remained deafiningly silent on the atrocities of China’s forced sterilizations.
There’s been much self-congratulation about progressing gender equality, equal participation, girl’s empowerment, women in leadership and solidarity against child-marriage and female-genital mutilation. But the hot topic of a ‘feminist vision’ has suffered an acute myopia concerning China’s state engineered violence against women, which its coercive population control program still inflicts.
After years lobbying and informing @UN_CSW @UN_Women and associated women’s NGOs on this issue we are not surprized that they continue to ignore the plight of their sisters suffering under the harrowing dictates of the Chinese regime. Their record on this matter is a shameful betrayal of women’s human rights and seriously erodes, to anyone of normal intelligence and integrity, any residual moral authority or credibility they may have.
We have through our experience and activism on this subject come to a conclusion that these bodies do not care about the court of public opinion. Nor are they vexed by the staggering hypocrisy at the heart of their callous indifference to those whose lives have been devastated as a result of being forcibly sterilized. While demanding action across a range of rights for women, they choose denial, silence, delusion and evasion as a response to this issue. Why is this appalling duplicity operating you may wonder. How can it be that women who announce themselves dedicated to rights and equality remain unmoved by the disturbing reality of forced sterilizations?
It’s our view that these organizations operate and possess characteristics often defining a cultic mindset. There’s an exclusive ideology, a dominating elite and compliant devotees. An elevation of an enshrined philosophy above all other considerations, protected by an emphatic and consistent rejection of anything regarded as not conforming to the approved dogma.
Does this concerned sisterhood regard women’s freedom-of-choice, and opportunity to educational and career advancement, restricted and disadvantaged by having children? Does that explain their selective definition of reproductive rights as being the provision of safe and free access to contraception and related education? Those are of course important and justified resources yet a woman surely has the right not to be forcibly sterilized, an action that violently denies any chance of reproduction.
They choose to offer no comment on that, which begs the question; are these organizations holding to the unspoken view that women ‘unburdened’ by pregnancy and children are more likely to realize the ultimate goals of the much trumpeted feminist vision? If so it may well serve to account for their reticence to condemn or oppose forced sterilizations, atrocities which are tolerated and perceived as liberating women from the confinements of motherhood?
Our position on this is one of respecting all human rights, we’re not interested in arguments for or against abortion, nor do we subscribe to any side of the pro or anti debate. Unlike the participants of the UNCSW and NGO Forum we regard forced sterilizations as a disturbing example of violence against women, constituting a physical and psychological disfigurement and denying women the reproductive right to have a child.
Amazing to see so many women and men on the streets in support of the Women’s March, while the event received international appreciation across social media the questions posed by the image above are valid and thought provoking.
How much trust and credibility can we invest in reports arising from collaborations between western academic institutions and Chinese universities, especially if the subject under examination is an issue of immense political sensitivity to China’s regime?
Contemplating that question it’s important to remind yourself that under the totalitarian control of the Communist Party of China universities do not have the liberal freedoms or operational independence enjoyed by institutions in the USA, Canada, Europe, and countries in Asia such as India.
The presence of the state and its political interests imposes a suffocating pressure across China’s academic community, and this is felt most acutely within those areas deemed as critical to the national or party interest.
One such topic, that attracts international concern is China’s notorious coercive birth control policies, its associated human rights atrocities and demographic and social impacts. Western media is awash with reports on China’s gender imbalance, or claims from the Chinese regime that the ‘one-child’ policy has been ended. Sadly less attention is given by the same champions of free speech to the harrowing range of violations suffered by women across China who face forced sterilizations, forced abortions, arbitrary arrests, loss of employment and denial of housing. The coercion has not gone away, although you may be forgiven for thinking so when viewing the reportage from mainstream media.
But then we have to remind ourselves that such articles are being composed from within China, derived in the most part from official Chinese ministries, who exert a tight control over foreign correspondents. In addition over recent years at a senior executive level media agencies such as Associated Press, Reuters, the BBC have developed a close association with China’s authorities. We must consider also the political influences which operate within such agencies, no doubt they conform to the policy of their respective governments towards China.
An accommodation would seem to have been reached, at the center of which is an active willingness to comply with Chinese demands on reporting of issues seen as sensitive. These include Tibet of course, but also the whole subject of population control policies and their consequences, is it any wonder then that journalists based in China, sourcing their reports from Chinese officials, aware that any violation of their contract with the Ministry Of Information or Foreign Affairs could result in their visa being withdrawn produce articles that echo the official line?
This appeasement, for that is what it is, is illustrated most tellingly in the manner in which China’s population issues are reported, indeed so slanted is such coverage that it’s authorship may as well be credited to National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China!
Take for example a report today which is across the media ‘China’s Missing Girls Actually Exist’ a claim deriving from recent statistical analysis by a collaboration between University of Kansas and Shangxi Normal University that Chinese women; thought once to have not existed due to the demands of the population control program and cultural preference for having male birth, now apparently exist.
The tone and content of this report characterizes the issues mentioned above, diluted and compliant journalism, combined with a source that relies upon Chinese statistics, which are often used for political and propaganda purposes. One also evaluated by a Chinese University controlled, monitored and authorized by China’s regime, in partnership with a foreign academic institution; that in order to operate within China most probably has to comply with and be sensitive towards the China’s authorities.
These important considerations of course have been ignored by mainstream media who are channeling the report with a credulity that must be bringing a warm glow of satisfaction to China’s regime. The story which is being ignored is that a docile media is at best being manipulated to promote China’s politically engineered propaganda, at worst it is a willing partner in spreading disinformation. What would be the object of such a deception and as Sherlock Holmes may inquire, who would most benefit?
Well we already have some indication provided by the political realities that apply to the issue itself within China, that the findings are drawn from China’s census, which as already mentioned is politicized data. Further explanations can be extracted from comments offered by a joint-author of the report:
“People think 30 million girls are missing from the population. That’s the population of California, and they think they’re just gone…..Most people are using a demographic explanation to say that abortion or infanticide are the reasons they don’t show up in the census and that they don’t exist. But we find there is a political explanation.”Source John Kennedy, Associate Professor of Political Science. University of Kansas (emphasis added)
Now it might be, although don’t hold your breath, that deep inside the report Professor Kennedy and his co-author Shi Yaojiang, of Shaanxi Normal University have included a disclaimer to the effect that their ‘findings’ are not stating that countless numbers of female fetuses weren’t forcibly aborted, or female babies abandoned as a result of the brutalizing pressures of China’s coercive population control policies and/or the influence of cultural preferences for a male child.
So far we have not noticed such an assertion, and shall happily welcome such an inclusion, meantime what we are left with is an impression that looks to be trying to exonerate China’s regime by deflecting criticism and attention away from its vicious population control policies (as a determining factor of the gender-imbalance) to some administrative oversight or expediency at we are invited to believe, local level.
Unlike mainstream media we exercise a critical eye of any information associated with the Chinese authorities and so evaluate this report with particular scrutiny. China has a long record of using academics to peddle its propaganda, it concludes that in doing so its purposes are concealed and given a more credible and authoritative gravitas. This latest effort while consumed and reported as fact by CNN, AP, Reuters, BBC et al when examined carefully raises serious questions, not least of all its accuracy, motivation and purpose.
Video: Published for educational purposes and public access-copyright remains with BBC World News
So, finally, after many years the UK’s main news media has realized what we have been saying all along, that announcements by China’s regime of a change and relaxation of its laws on population control are little more than a cynical facade. The abuses, coercion continue to be enforced and women across China and occupied territories such as Tibet ad East Turkestan are still being forcibly sterilized and aborted by order of the state!
As investigated, acknowledged and reported upon by the UN Committee against Torture, Congressional Executive Committee on China and Amnesty International USA women living under the oppressive reality of the Chinese authorities remain subject to a draconian population control program that grossly violates women’s human rights. Forced sterilizations and forced abortions have not disappeared, nor has the spiral of coercion and intimidation been ended. Now the British Broadcasting Corporation has conceded the disturbing truth that no matter the public announcements from China’s government that its policy on population control has been moderated and coercion ended in reality the atrocities remain. While women are being bullied and terrorized into having sterilizations and abortions.
We wonder in the face of the evidence if now the United Nations Commission On the Status of Women,United Nations Women and associated NGOs will finally decide to take a stand against this harrowing violence against women and oppose China’s coercive population control program? We advise readers not to hold their breath on this!
So the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) launched March 14 it’s 60th Session and New York is again hosting hundreds of women’s NGOs and several thousand female activists all gathered to champion gender equality and end violence against women. Not all forms of violent behavior though, some it would appear are entirely acceptable to the United Nations, particularly China’s forced sterilizations, an issue which remains regularly ignored and evaded by those who gather annually at the UNCSW.
Yesterday Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women sat around the table with an old old friend of the UNCSW, 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. She’s also vice president of the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF), a national organization that assists in the enforcement of China’s notorious population control policies upon women in China, and occupied Tibet and East Turkestan.
As we reported previously, in March 2010 as a delegate attending a UN meeting she received the applause of the UNCSW and Women’s NGOs. Just a few weeks later Ms Xiaosi was congratulated by her psychopathic colleagues in the Chinese regime, when in a period of two weeks nearly 10, 000 women were sterilized in one city alone! Of which Amnesty International noted at that time: “Local officials aim to sterilize 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 sterilization. Local reports suggest at least some people are not freely consenting to being sterilized”
The ideological storm-troopers 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, Meng Xiaosi has played a prominent role in planning and authorizing China’s population control tyranny, which has attracted international attention and condemnation from human rights organizations such as Amnesty International:
“Forced sterilisation (sic) 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 pressurizing 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. (sic)” (Kate Allen Director of Amnesty International UK)
Despite that atrocity against women’s human rights being widely reported the UNCSW offered not a single word of protest, while Ms Meng Xiaosi continues to enjoy the most cordial and supportive of relations with UN Women. On the issue of China’s forced sterilizations the UN Commission on the Status of Women and its associated NGOs have proved disappointingly apathetic to the plight of their sisters who are being subject to the horrors of such atrocities. This major violation of women’s human and reproductive rights is consistently ignored and avoided by the CSW and many women’s NGOs. Who this year will again be issuing declarations of intent to end all violence against women and girls. Apart that is from the psychotic violence inflicted upon women China’s forced sterilizations program. Atrocities neither recognized or condemned by the champions of women’s rights. Welcome to the hypocritical and integrity free world of @UN_CSW @UN_Women and related Non-Governmental Organizations.
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.
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?