For more than 40 years, the one-child policy was one of the biggest causes of suffering for women in China. Since it was strictly enforced in the early 80s, it is estimated that around 400 million babies were aborted. Efforts to manage the birth rate began when the CCP came to power in 1949. But with the arrival of Deng Xiaoping plans to regulate population growth became more rigorous. The campaign used sterilization and forced abortions, coercive measures, and large fines. Only some ethnic minorities were considered privileged. They were granted a second child and in rare cases rural families with a daughter were also exempt.
After performing 1,500 abortions per hour, or 13 million annually as claimed by the CCP, numerous human rights groups raised their voices to denounce the atrocities of this policy. One such voice came from Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Right Without Frontiers. She said, “Of these 336 million abortions, how many women were dragged out of their homes, tied to tables and forced to abort the babies they want, until the ninth month of pregnancy?” She added, “How many women died as a result of these violent procedures? And of these 336 million abortions, how many were selectively aborted because they were girls?”
To have a stable population the birth rate should 2.1 children per woman. In China it was 1.16 in 2021, and the forecasts for 2022 are on a downward slope, placing it among the countries with the lowest growth rate. This forced social structuring triggers a smaller young workforce, which supports a greater number of retirees and a lower rate of economic growth. To this drama is added the imbalance between the number of men and women. Traditionally, the preference leaned toward male children, since they inherit the name and property and were responsible for the care of the elderly. With the one-child policy having a girl became undesirable, therefore they were aborted expecting the boy in the next pregnancy. Consequently, there are between 3 and 4 percent more men than women.
The darker side of this distortion manifests in an increase in sex trafficking and bride kidnapping. The victims come from both rural and neighboring countries. Added to this is suicide among women, as Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, attests: “It is no coincidence that women in China have the highest suicide rate in the world, not to mention the highest rates of breast cancer, all as a consequence of having killed their babies in the womb by a state ruthlessly bent on population control.”
Does the CCP recognize its mistakes? With the end of the one-child policy in 2016, the CCP tried to reverse the mistakes of the past, allowing couples to have two children. Seeing few promising results in 2021 it moved to a three-child policy.
Still, it’s not enough. The number of newborns fell from 10.6 million in 2020 to 10 million in 2021, down 11.6 percent. With the massive forced confinements of the population, young people experienced a deep anguish and anxiety that led to a decrease in their sex drive, and a refusal to have children in an environment of uncertainty. On August 16, China’s National Health Commission issues a document urging local governments to take steps to reduce abortions, promote fertility, and thus increase the number of people. This document was issued jointly by 17 government agencies, which shows the magnitude of this new campaign and the urgency in implementing the new measures.
With the title, “Guiding opinions on the improvement and application of positive fertility support measures” the government will implement programs to help in child care, improve maternity leave, raise the level of prevention and treatment against infertility, and reduce induced abortions. The contrast between the new measures and the previous ones is striking. At first glance it is about correcting past mistakes, the system shows once again that the methods used to practice its policies never considered the person as an individual but as a malleable product based on rules and restrictions. The irony is remarkable in the case of Uighur women who, despite this new campaign to promote the birth rate, continue to be forced into sterilization and abortions in concentration camps in the Xinjiang region.The Uighur court, an independent coalition of human rights experts, found the CCP guilty of genocide against the Uighurs “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The sentence reads: Pregnant women, in detention centers and outside them, were forced to have abortions even in the later stages of pregnancy. In the course of abortion attempts, babies were sometimes born alive, but then killed. A systematic program of birth control measures had been established that forced women to endure removal against their will from the uteruses and to undergo effective sterilization by means of IUDs that were only removable by surgical means.” According to the United Nations, imposing measures aimed at preventing births within a group is included within the definition of “genocide.”