Wednesday, July 23, 2008

HBO'S "China's Stolen Children": The Bad Karma Of China's One-Child Policy

"As you sow, so shall you reap". Some call it Karma, but whatever you choose to call it there are consequences for our actions, whether we like it or not. It's a law of nature, and we have no control over the results. Negative actions elicit negative re-actions. It applies not only to individuals but to nations as well, and we can witness this happening in many countries including Burma, Zimbabwe and China where the people, sadly, are often the ones to suffer the consequences of their government's actions, or inaction, in the case of Burma.

I just watched a compelling HBO documentary entitled "China's Stolen Children", which sheds light on the dark side of their one-child policy. After 3 decades of enforcing the planned birth policy, things have turned ugly, particularly for the poor in China. Instituted in 1979 by Deng Xiaoping to control the threat of a projected population explosion which would have taxed the economic resources of the communist country, the Chinese government implemented a birth control policy that effectively paved the way for forced abortions and sterilizations, and human trafficking. The latter is what the documentary focuses on.

What happens when you force couples to give birth to just one child, or face a huge fine that most can ill afford? They resort to either aborting or selling their children. According to the British Society For The Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)
It has been calculated that between 1971 and 1985 alone there were some 100 million coercive birth-control "operations" in China, including forced sterilisations and forced abortions (Dr John Aird, Slaughter of the Innocents, AEI Press, 1991). In 1983 a massive campaign of compulsory birth control surgeries was carried out, which reportedly produced 14 million abortions, 21 million sterilisations and 18 million IUD insertions. This campaign was directed by the then minister-in-charge of the State Family Planning Commission (SFPC), Qian Xinzhong.
And what happens when the cultural preference is for male children? Although female infanticide occurred prior to the creation of the People's Republic of China, and prior to establishing the one-child policy, after almost 3 decades of selective birthing (i.e. let's abort this baby girl, because we want a boy) there is a dearth of marriageable women. And what happens when there aren't enough women to marry? You create a need, and human traffickers have now taken to kidnapping young women to be sold as brides.

"China's Stolen Children", which was filmed undercover, shares the heart-breaking stories of various people who have come face to face with what happens when a government chooses to enforce a policy that goes against nature. One young couple had their 5 year-old son Chen Jie kidnapped while in the care of his grandmother. Hiring a detective, who dedicates his time to tracking down stolen children, they have yet to find the boy, and the likelihood is very slim. We witness a daring rescue of a young kidnapped teen, by Detective Zhu, but success is rare, and Zhu talks about giving it all up. They also follow the exploits of a trafficker, who sold his own son, who brokers deals between mothers and potential buyers. One couple, who are not old enough to marry (women must be 20 and men 22), decide to sell their newborn baby girl because they do not have the money to pay the requisite fine, and children born out of wedlock have no identity or rights. And although buyers prefer male babies, there are those who will settle for a female. In some cases, they will opt for a girl to raise as a wife for their son.

Although it was only intended as a short term remedy, the Chinese government plans to continue with the one-child policy until at least 2012, and seems more intent on keeping the problem of human trafficking quiet, according to Detective Zhu, than helping to stop the illegal practice. And so more children will be stolen or aborted.

It is estimated that by the end of this decade, 40 to 60 million girls will have been abandoned or aborted.


The Socialite said...

Thank you for the extra knowledge ono this situation. I have heard about the one-child law of course, but for some reason never looked further into it. Of course I thought it was insane, but never really looked deeper into the effects that this was having on the country.

Pat Jenkins said...

excellant post incog, and yes thanks for "alerting" everyone to this. this documentary would be a tough watch from the stand point of seeing the callousness of how this "trade" is allowed to continue... did you catch this on dvd, if so let me know!!....

MUD said...

Our son and his wife would love to have a child and are unable. This makes me so sad to see a young family with empty arms knowing there are abandoned children elsewhere. MUD

Incognito said...

THESOCIALITE: I knew about the forced abortions, but had no clue about the child trafficking. Terribly sad.

PATJ: Thanks Peej. It was heartbreaking to watch. It's illegal, but the government does nothing to stop it. You know how concerned they are about image and not about their people. That's been proven time and again. And I saw it on HBO a few nights ago, but it's probably available on DVD.

MUD: So sorry to hear about your son and his wife, MUD. It's sad when deserving parents are unable to have a child. I know of several. And how so many in this country don't deserve to have the children they have.

Z said...

In Chile, there are street children running rampant with no parents. A missionary I heard speak this Spring said the police are constantly going to the mayor asking if they can "just shoot them dead."

This China story is hideous....and "a girl to raise as a wife for their SON?" (WHAT?)

WHAT is happening to this world? Mud is right..there are loving couples who desperately want children and yet THIS is happening!

Then, an LA friend with 2 little ones of her own tried to get custody of her brother's 2 little ones (He's in jail now and the live-in illegal woman who's their mother is a drug addict) and our system made it nearly impossible! Paperwork, interviews, more paperwork...She's THEIR AUNT!
They were put in a horrid foster home downtown for a month and were scared witless. To this day, almost a year later, the kids say "You're not going to take us back to Florence, ARE YOU!?" Our tax dollars at work.
WHAT is going ON?!! When do the kids come first?

How can we STOP CHINA? Great post.

Incognito said...

Hey Z, there are lots of homeless, parentless children in Brazil, as well, but had never heard about shooting them. How sad is that. There is something to be said about planned parenthood, at least through education and contraception, but China's 1 per goes too far.
People (including children) have become commodities.. that's why we see in this country parents killing their own to get back at their significant others.

As for your friend.. you would think they would give them to the aunt, rather then send them into the foster care system which often creates troubled children.

And we can't stop China, sadly, at least not until the government changes, and that will be up to the people.

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