Gendercide and Human Rights Violations
Infanticide and sex selective abortions targeting females, which are illegal in China, have caused a widening gap between males and females. This gap has led to a marriage crisis and may lead to violence and criminality among males. China traditionally prefers male heirs to female ones, as they can provide a greater source of labor for rural families with farms and are more capable of providing for their parents and grandparents in old age (Dvorsky). This preference has resulted in “millions upon millions abortions” of girls whose parents were hoping for a boy (Dvorsky). Currently, there are 121 boys born for every 100 girls in China, which is higher than the natural state of 105 boys born for every 100 girls. Men outnumber women by “32 million” in China (Dvorsky). This gender imbalance creates a further problem of a possibly more violent Chinese society. Mara Hvistendahl, author of Unnatural Selection, states in her book that civilizations in which men outnumber women are often “unstable” and can lead to criminality and violence (qtd. Dvorsky). Also, the greater proportion of men to women results in a great number of men unable to find brides. In some instances, men have to “buy or bid for them” (Dvorsky). A great number of unmarried men can also lead to an increased crime rate as they “tend to accumulate in the lower classes where the risk of violence is accentuated” (Dvorsky). Additionally, with fewer marriages, there will be an even greater slowdown of population growth. China’s one-child policy has not been without domestic consequences that will be difficult to correct.
Today, coercive methods, such as forced abortion and sterilization, are still used to implement the One Child Policy by many local authorities despite its violation against both international human rights laws and China’s domestic social policies. — Shengyi Chang
Human Rights Violations
Aside from resulting sex selective abortions, China’s One Child Policy has caused forced abortions of “illegal children,” or children of couples who already have a child, and sterilizations by family planning officials and an international issue of human rights violations. According to the U.N. Tehran Declaration on Human Rights, couples have the right to decide how many children they want to have “freely but responsibly” (Mason). Making the decision “responsibly” can signify not having more children than the couple can support monetarily or having a number of children that is not detrimental to the environment or society. China may have justified its implementation of the one-child policy through the responsibility of parents to have a number of children that will not hurt society. However, even if China bases its policy on parents’ responsibility, the methods used to enforce the policy and the policies of other developing countries have been criticized as they “pressure women to use dangerous contraceptives, to have abortions when they wish to bear children, and to undergo sterilization operations that destroy their childbearing capacity. Population programs are thus coercive; they also ignore women’s overall health needs” (Mason). The Chinese government imposes the policy through violent means including “beatings, kidnappings and killings committed by family planning officials” (Demick). Chinese law state that family planning officials should “‘not violate the personal rights of civilians’”; however, it permits “‘remedial measures’ to end unauthorized pregnancies” (Demick). Apart from killing the child, forced abortions can result in the death of the mother. Forced sterilization can take place after the birth of a first child to prevent women from having more or after an abortion (Demick). These abortions and sterilizations are “often performed at family planning clinics, where, by the admission of Chinese officials, medical training and equipment can be inadequate” (Demick). China’s one-child policy flouts international human rights.
Copyright © 2013 by Alexa Tsintolas. All rights reserved.