As diplomats prepare to open the U.S. – China Human Rights Dialogue in Washington today, the organization Women’s Rights Without Frontiers just learned that a 46-year-old woman from Jiangxi Province was forcibly sterilized in retaliation for bringing a petition. The woman posted the following account on the internet:
“On March 14, my husband was being escorted back from making a petition. To retaliate forhis petition, the town government sent more than 20 strong men. I could no longer give birth to a child at that time, but they still dragged my legs, treated me like an animal, and forcibly performed a tubal ligation on the operating table of the Family Planning Office. Guoqing Luo (the Deputy Town Secretary) also exclaimed, The Government takes the consequences! The Government has the money!”
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers phoned the victim’s husband and learned of the tragic circumstances that led to the petition. The couple’s second daughter fell to her death from a fourth floor window during a quarrel with her boyfriend. Her parents took the boyfriend’s parents to court and won a judgment of 43,000 RMB (US$6,700) but they were never paid. The victim’s husband petitioned to enforce the judgment. In retaliation for this petition, that local government forcibly sterilized his wife. The local government told the victim’s husband that if he and his wife kept quiet about the forced sterilization, they would receive compensation. The couple, however, decided to post the incident on the Internet.
Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, called on this tragedy to be addressed at the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue that commences today in Washington: “There is no mention of forced abortion or involuntary sterilization on the agenda. These practices touch every family in China and should be front and center in the Dialogues.”
The 17th session of U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue will be held July 23-24, 2012, in Washington. Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner and Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General for International Organizations and Conferences Chen Xu will lead respective delegations.
According to the State Department, “Rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, labor rights, and other human rights issues will be raised over the course of the two-day dialogue. Strong promotion of human rights remains a key tenet of U.S. foreign policy, including toward China, and we are committed to continuing our candid and in-depth discussion with the Chinese government on this issue.”
Littlejohn believes that this incident is further evidence of social control by the Chinese government: “Forced sterilization is barbaric and is already categorized as a crime against humanity. To forcibly sterilize a woman who is beyond childbearing to retaliate for bringing a petition is beyond barbaric. This incident is evidence [that] China’s One Child Policy is social control masquerading as population control. Its primary purpose is no longer to control fertility, but rather to control the Chinese people through terror.”