It was just before New Year’s in the Hunan province of China, when a young pregnant woman named Li Quilang heard a knock on the door. A team of local officials announced they were taking her to a clinic to give birth.
But my baby isn’t due for two months, Li Quilang told them. No matter, they said. Under China’s quota system for births, the numbers would come out better if she had her baby before the new year. So despite her pleas, Li Quilang was marched off to the clinic where doctors induced early labor.
It was a disaster. The baby died within hours, and Li was crippled. Today, instead of playing with her toddler as she should be, Li spends most of her time writhing in pain.
Outside, under a little mound of dirt, her baby is buried.
It’s a tragic story, but just as tragic is the fact that your tax dollars and mine may soon be used to support this inhumane policy.
China has a one-child-per-family population policy, enforced by draconian measures. All Chinese women of childbearing age have their menstrual cycles monitored by the local pregnancy police. To have a child, a couple must first get permission from local officials, who ration births by the quota system that so cruelly affected Li Quilang.
Women with unauthorized pregnancies are forced to undergo an abortion. They are rounded up and trucked to clinics, where they are not allowed to leave until they submit to an abortion.
Couples who still manage to have unauthorized births (usually in rural areas) are punished with heavy fines equivalent to several years’ income. If the fines aren’t paid, the family’s home is bulldozed down. Further violations are prevented by compulsory sterilization.
The strict one-child policy even tempts some Chinese families to practice infanticide. In a country where children are the only form of Social Security, couples desperately want a son to support them in their old age. Every year nearly one million girls are either aborted or killed as newborns. Handicapped babies are abandoned so parents can try again for a healthy child.
These horrifying abuses are a direct result of the Chinese government’s insistence on population control at any price. Yet President Clinton reportedly has decided to ask Congress to underwrite the policy. He’s asking Congress to restore appropriations for the United Nations Population Fund, which provides financial aid to the Chinese government for its population programs.
Appropriations were cut off under the Reagan administration, precisely because of China’s record of forced abortion and sterilization. President Clinton says he’s prochoice, but he’s about to give sanction and financial support to a program where Chinese women have no choice in childbearing.
And the American voter won’t have any choice about paying for it, either.
Li Quilang may be lying on a grass mat halfway across the world but she’s still one of the neighbors Jesus commanded us to love as ourselves. We ought to be praying for her and her compatriots.
And we ought to tell our elected officials that we are not about to bankroll this ghastly holocaust of Chinese children.