Written Testimony of Chen Guangcheng: A Matter of Life and Death
On April 30, 2015, Chen Guangcheng delivered the following testimony during a Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) hearing entitled “Population Control in China: State-Sponsored Violence Against Women and Children.”
The original version is published at the CECC hearing page, and is offered here with thanks to Chen Guangcheng for permission to do so.
Chen Guangcheng is a Chinese legal advocate, a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, and author of The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man’s Fight for Justice and Freedom in China.
A Matter of Life and Death: How Violent Birth Control in China Is Breaking Down the Traditional Morality of Chinese Society
To address the issue of violent birth control in China, let me start by listing birth control slogans from some of the following provinces:
In Yunnan: All villagers will be sterilized once a single villager violates the birth quota.
In Sichuan: Anyone avoiding sterilization must be put in custody; anyone avoiding sterilization must be punished by bulldozing their house; anyone avoiding abortion shall surrender their cattle and house.
In Anhui: We’d rather see ten more tombs than a single baby born alive.
In Jiangsu: We’d rather see a river of blood than a single baby born alive.
In Guangxi: An IUD must be secured after the first birth; sterilization must follow the second; the third and fourth must be killed.
In Shandong: We’d rather see a broken home than a collapsed country. First birth is OK, the second must be followed by sterilization, or law enforcement steps in.
From the above slogans, you can definitely get a clear picture of the bloody and brutal violence resulting from China’s birth control policies and practices. Back in the summer of 1982, a village Party chief said while at rest, “During the birth control movement, I went to see a friend who had just had an abortion in a hospital. After wandering to the backyard, I saw an old man trying to remove dead babies in his two buckets, and spades pressing down bodies. I saw some of the babies with hair, or a nose, or ears, some just taking the shape of a person… all sorts of them being carried away to somewhere for burial.”
Birth control in China is taboo, as nobody dares to touch a nerve. To achieve its goal of population control, the Communist Party has established a vast system to carry out its policy. The Party has also signaled to those on the front line that jailing, beating, eviction, demolition and other such policies are not beyond the red line, even at the cost of life. In my village and neighboring villages, we could often hear and see groups of people, from a dozen to several dozen and headed by their local party chiefs, acting like bandits, beating villagers, and holding them in defiance of legal procedures, day and night. We could hear screaming and crying during these operations. I volunteered to help the villagers with my legal knowledge in the hope of stopping and preventing such brutal actions. Yet, I found out the law was useless in trying to stop these violent birth control practices. The Party committee had ordered local law enforcement authorities such as the police, the prosecutors, and the judiciary NOT to get involved in such cases.
Whenever this kind of human rights violation occurred, villagers would call the police for help, but they were told that this was a governmental action, and beyond their scope of work, and so the police refused to intervene. When a complaint was made to a local prosecutor, it would be turned down; even when such a suit was filed in a local court, it would be rejected with no further consideration. Therefore, the local folks could not find a place to obtain justice. Once a layman was driven to such desperation by lack of hope, he would resort to violence. And only when such violence happened would you see law enforcement flooding in, tools of human rights violation at the will of the Party.
In China, a married couple must first seek a permit from the local birth control committee before pregnancy. With such an official document in hand, the couple can then think of having a baby. If pregnant without such a permit, the woman would be summoned and forced to report to a local birth control service station, where a Communist party official would force her to sign a form of acknowledgement prior to a forced abortion, purporting that such a procedure (including sterilization) was done with her consent. Of course, NONE of these women are willing to lose their own babies, but rather are coerced to place their fingerprint on the form against their will.
If these Communist bandits failed to get the pregnant woman to submit to a nighttime operation, then they would take away family members, relatives such as uncles and aunts, siblings, and even other neighbors within a diameter of 50 meter of the target, usually including 10-20 households, by force, often with cruelty. These relatives would be coerced into fighting before being taken away for illegal detention. Those who suffered would have to pay 50-100 yuan per day, which is about $10-$20, in the name of legal training fee. As a matter of fact, they have to pay for their suffering. This illegal detention and torture has caused great strife, even hatred, among relatives.
Regarding forced abortion in China, during the first three months of pregnancy, a device shall be inserted into the vagina and the fetus cut into pieces inside womb, then pumped outside. Up to the sixth month of pregnancy, a poison shall be injected into womb to kill the baby and birth induced to withdraw the baby from out of the body. Late in pregnancy, at six months or beyond, birth is to be induced and the baby drowned in a water bucket. Sometimes, a doctor would break the neck of a baby and throw it into a trash bin.
During a six-month period of 2005, more than 130,000 forced abortions and/or sterilizations took place in Linyi city ALONE; more than 600,000 family members suffered during this period. This brutality and these crimes against women and their families have wrought irrevocable physical, spiritual and psychological harm. Many families have lost hope and ended up broken.
Over the past 35 years, China has killed a total of 360 to 400 million young lives as a result of its inhumane and violent birth control policies. This brutality still goes on despite China’s propaganda of loosening control on the second child bearing for some couples on certain conditions. Just a few days ago, I got a case involving a man who was disabled due to a severe beating by local government personnel just because his sister-in-law had had an additional baby without a permit.
This inhumane brutality has resulted in society becoming indifferent to life and has diminished the dignity of the human being, thus breaking down the traditional morality of Chinese society on life-and-death matters and leading to social decay. The ratio of the sexes to one another is distorted – as an old Chinese saying goes, a single piece of wood burns hardly long, so is hard to raise a single child in a family. These so-called little emperors and little princesses exhibit a selfish character and a weak and fragile psyche. Along with these social issues, China has becoming an aging society, with more than a million families who have lost their ONLY child…
A contemporary genocide is taking place in Communist China now; it is a horrific crime against humanity. I would make the follow proposal:
(1) The United States Congress, along with the international community, should take all steps necessary to stop the inhumane cruelty of the Communist Party; it should call for an international tribune to investigate crimes committed by the Communist regime in China, and make Communist officials accountable for their crimes against humanity, particularly this kind of genocide.
(2) The United States should ban those criminal Communist officials from entry into the U.S., and their property in this country should be forfeit. These officials include former security chief Zhou Yongkang (who has been arrested on charges of various crimes); Zhang Gaoli (former governor of Shandong Province, now first Vice Premier and Politburo member); and Linyi City Party Chief Li Qun, who is not only a practitioner of violent birth control, but also the leading evildoer persecuting my family. These human rights violators who act against humanity must be made accountable.
Thank you very much for your attention to the worsening human rights situation in China.