After three decades of forced population control in China, Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.) is calling on President Obama to take a stand for human rights in China, ahead of his Thursday trip to the country.
On November 10, 2009, a panel of human rights activists spoke before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission about the Chinese government’s abusive stance towards women and the family. Contributors hoped to pass their concerns along to the president as he prepares for a trip to China this week.
China has a policy limiting each family to one child. To enforce this policy, the Chinese government requires prospective parents to obtain a permit to have a child before they become pregnant, levies enormous fines on families who have more than one child, monitors women’s reproductive cycles, mandates birth control, and in some cases, forces abortions and sterilizations upon women.
Nicholas Eberstadt, a policy expert from the American Enterprise Institute, told the commission, “We have seen the emergence of the one child family and the end of 2,500 years of the traditional Chinese family.” He testified that the current system has destroyed the centuries-old tradition of the Chinese family, as millions of children now have neither brothers and sisters nor aunts and uncles.
Reggie Littlejohn, of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, called the one-child policy violence of individuals on an historic scale. She called on President Obama to take to heart his Nobel Peace Prize and act in defense of human rights.
The organization ChinaAid presented electronic evidence to the Lantos Commission from a website for Chinese obstetricians and gynecologists, where doctors traded advice on how to perform late-term abortions and what to do if the baby survives the attempt on its life. One doctor suggested that the child's skull must be punctured and another that they be “left in trash cans.” Some contributors did express concern for the child's rights.
Rep. Chris Smith, who is a senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Ranking Member on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, stated, “Human rights are trivialized by China, and the United States has been sending a message that profits and money-making trumps human rights.”
“On Thursday,” Smith noted, “President Obama travels to Asia, and will be in Beijing for four days of meetings.”
“I hope he will not conduct these meetings in the same airy spirit that Secretary Clinton expressed on her first visit to China, when she dismissed the human rights of the Chinese people as irrelevant to her relationship with the Chinese government,” Smith stated.