The China Development Research Foundation (CDRF) — a think tank affiliated with the Chinese government — has recommended that China gradually phase in a two-child policy over the next three years, and then cease all birth limits in the year 2020. This recommendation was based on the coming demographic disaster caused by low birth rates combined with an aging population, as well as the severe gender imbalance caused by son preference. However, the organization Women’s Rights Without Frontiers (WRWF) warns that the CDRF report does not support the conclusion that China will “abandon,” “end” or “scrap” the One Child Policy immediately, nor are “shock waves” warranted.
WRWF cited the following reasons that no significant policy change will take place:
- The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has not adopted the CDRF’s recommendations, and is not required ever to do so. Earlier this year, amidst multiple reports of late-term forced abortions, the National Population and Family Planning Commission affirmed that it continues to stand by the One Child Policy, praising it for preventing 400 million births.
- Instituting a two-child policy will not end forced abortion or gendercide. The problem with the One Child Policy is not the number of children “allowed.” Rather, it is the fact that the CCP is telling women how many children they can have and then enforcing that limit through forced abortion, forced sterilization and infanticide. WRWF says that even if all couples were allowed two children, there is no guarantee that the CCP will cease their appalling methods of enforcement.Additionally, areas in which two children currently are allowed are especially vulnerable to gendercide, the sex-selective abortion of females. According to the 2009 British Medical Journal study of 2005 national census data, in nine provinces, for “second order births” where the first child is a girl, 160 boys were born for every 100 girls. This study stated that “Sex selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males.” Because of this, there are an estimated 37 million Chinese men who will never marry. This gender imbalance is a powerful, driving force behind trafficking in women and sexual slavery, not only in China, but in neighboring nations as well.
- WRWF says that the CDRF report is significant because of the organization’s connection with the Chinese government. Yet, WRWF Executive Director Reggie Littlejohn says that “stating that the CDRF has recommended an immediate abandonment of the One Child Policy, however, mischaracterizes the report and serves to abandon the women who are ongoing victims of that policy.” She continued: “The coercive enforcement of China’s One Child Policy continues to cause more violence toward women and girls than any other official policy on earth, and any other official policy in the history of the world.”
Last month, the Guttmacher Institute concluded in a new policy analysis that forcing a woman to terminate a pregnancy she wants is wrong, and so is forcing her to continue a pregnancy that she does not want. The U.S.-based think tank said that each case violates women’s basic human rights: the right to decide freely whether and when to bear a child and the right to have that decision respected by the government.
“Reproductive rights advocates have long stood for the principle that coercion in reproductive decision making—whether to prevent childbearing or to compel it—is unacceptable and should be unequivocally condemned,” says Sneha Barot, author of the new analysis. “This principle applies across national borders and at all levels of government, whether it’s local Chinese officials forcing women to terminate a wanted pregnancy or U.S. state legislatures passing increasingly coercive abortion restrictions to keep women from ending an unwanted one.”