12/22/2010, 00.00
CHINA
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One-child law enslaves women's bodies

A CHRD report denounces absolute control over women's lives because of the one-child rule: forced gynaecological examinations; abortions even in the ninth month, sterilization, contraceptive implants. Local leaders who arbitrarily use fines to get rich. The one-child rule "for another five years" at least.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Chinese women have no power of choice over their body and are subjected to constant humiliation and suffering because of the one-child law. At least three times a year they must report for a mandatory pelvic examination (to verify that they are not pregnant); after the first child, they are forced to use an intrauterine contraceptive device, they are subjected to forced sterilization and abortion (up to nine months).

This is the picture that emerges from a chilling report released yesterday by the CHRD (China Human Rights Defenders), entitled "I don’t have a choice over my own body”, which lists the human rights violations suffered by men and women - but especially by women - because of the one-child law, launched 30 years ago to drastically control the population.

The publication verifies its impact over the last five years. Although many parties speak of a possible softening, and there are even rumours of its possible cancellation, the report instead shows that population control and the one-child law are still implemented with violence. The report is full of examples that show:

a) Married women are urged to insert IUDs or be sterilized when they have reached their birth quotas, thus depriving them of their choice over birth control methods.

b) Women who are pregnant out-of-quota—which includes premarital pregnancies—are often forced to abort the fetuses, even in advanced pregnancies; the report cites the example of Liu Dan, from Liuyang City in Hunan Province, became pregnant before she reached the age at which she could legally marry, which is 22 for men and 20 for women. Liu and her boyfriend then decided to get engaged. Liu’s child was due to be born on March 5, 2009, but just a little over a week before the due date, on February 26, Liu was seized at her home by officials from the town family planning bureau, who forced her to undergo an abortion. Liu and her child died on the operating table.

c) Men and women who have violated the policy, as well as their families and relatives, have been punished with arbitrary detention, beatings, fines, and property seizures; others have been fired from their jobs and their out-of-quota children have been denied household registration permits (exclusion from health care, school, etc. ..);  Both parents and children face discrimination as a result of the policy, as education and employment opportunities and even social services are linked to compliance with the policy. The highly arbitrary and uneven way it is being carried out across the country also results in unequal treatment between couples in similar situations.

The report reveals that the law is not applied in the same way everywhere, and its interpretation is left to the will or sentiments of the local authorities. But wherever the bureaucrats of family planning receive rewards and incentives if they meet quotas set in sterilization, abortion, coils, etc ...: then it becomes a business market at people’s expense.

Even the fines that are imposed vary from place to place, but remain an important source of revenue for local governments, especially in rural areas. The arbitrariness with which they are handled opens a large potential for corruption.

CHRD concludes the report by asking the Chinese government to prosecute the bureaucrats who have violated the rights of citizens under the pretext of implementing the one-child law, and to abolish the program of population control.

This program has in fact distorted the demography of China, creating a serious imbalance in the balance between males and females and a rapidly aging population.

Just a few days ago, December 20, the head of family planning in Beijing, Li Bin, said that the one-child policy will remain unchanged “at least for the next five years. "

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