In anticipation of the release of the new WYA White Paper on coercive abortion, the World Youth Alliance interviewed Ms. Reggie Littlejohn, the Founder and President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, an international coalition to expose and oppose forced abortion, gendercide and sexual slavery in China. Ms. Littlejohn also led the international effort to free blind activist Chen Guangcheng, who arrived in the United States on May 19, 2012. An acclaimed international expert on China’s One Child Policy, she has testified six times at the United States Congress, twice at the European Parliament, and at the British and Irish Parliaments as well. As a graduate of Yale Law School, she has represented Chinese refugees in their political asylum cases. Scroll down to read Reggie’s expert opinion on the situation in China regarding forced abortions.
1) WYA’s Question: On August 30, 2012, China’s Population and Family Planning Commission issued an order banning forced abortions, particularly late-term abortions. The directive is believed to be a response to international pressure following the highly publicized forced abortion of Feng Jianmei, a woman in her seventh month of pregnancy, and the recent escape to the United States of Chen Guangcheng, a notable human rights lawyer. Is the new ban on forced abortions expected to have a real, positive impact on the freedom of the Chinese people?
Reggie’s Answer: Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, the China Aid Association and the Population Research Institute have all issued public statements that the recent announcement by another Chinese human rights organization that the Chinese government has banned forced abortions is premature, inaccurate and misleading. (See the links below.) Rather, the so-called ban only addresses late-term forced abortion, leaving the door open for early and mid-term forced abortions. In addition, the Chinese government has long denied that it practices forced abortion, yet such abortions occur all the time. Further, so long as powerful structural and economic incentives keep the One Child Policy in place, forced abortion will be an inevitable result.
2) WYA’s Question: The one-child policy has been in effect for over 30 years in China, and has dramatically reduced the Chinese population. What is the demographic impact, both current and future, of such a policy? How does this policy disproportionately affect girls and women?
Reggie’s Answer: Because of the traditional preference for boys, sex-selective abortion is common and most of the aborted fetuses are girls, a form of “gendercide.” Because of this gendercide, there are 37 million more men than women in China today. This gender imbalance is a major force driving sexual trafficking of women and girls in Asia. China has the highest female suicide rate of any country in the world. It is the only nation in which more women than men kill themselves – approximately 500 women a day. I believe that this high suicide rate is likely related to coercive family planning.
A powerful, new film is coming out this fall on gendercide in China and India. This one-hour documentary is called “It’s a Girl,” as these are the three deadliest words in the world. According to one UN expert, up to 200 million women are missing in the world today due to sex-selective abortion. I serve as an expert on China’s One Child Policy in the film. You can sign up to bring this film to your community on the website.
Click here to visit the “It’s a Girl” Website.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers is about to launch a campaign to save girls in China. This campaign has been adopted by the “It’s a Girl” film in its official "Action Plan" for China. This campaign is already saving lives in China.
3) WYA’s Question: How can civil society actors and concerned citizens outside of China help to raise awareness about coercive practices in China and the myriad threats to human dignity inherent in the one-child policy? What should we be doing at the United Nations, the European Parliament, and other international bodies to stand in defense of human dignity in China?
Reggie’s Answer: One of the best things to raise awareness is to watch our four-minute video and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
You can also sign our petition to end forced abortion.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has filed two complaints against the Chinese Communist Party, based on forced abortion in China. You can read our 2012 complaint here.
In a striking blow against China’s One Child Policy, the European Parliament passed a resolution strongly condemning forced abortion and involuntary sterilization in China and globally, citing Feng Jianmei. Specifically, the resolution, 2012/2712 (RSP) “strongly condemns the decision to force Ms. Feng to have an abortion and condemns the practice of forced abortions and sterilizations globally, especially in the context of the one-child policy.”
Additionally, it is significant that the European Parliament has acknowledged that it provides funding for family planning in China, and urged the Commission to ensure that this funding is not associated with coercion. For decades, the UNFPA and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have worked hand in hand with the Chinese population control machine, which is coercive. They are funded by many nations, not only in Europe but the world over, including the United States. I have no doubt that any unbiased investigation by the European Parliament or any other governmental body will reveal that these organizations are complicit with coercive family planning in China.
I have testified twice at the European Parliament and hope that their courageous action will serve as a model for governments all over the world, including the United States, to join the outcry against forced abortion in China — and to stop funding it.