What little girl hasn’t heard that little slogan from an annoying boy at one time or another? While in Canada we live in a society that knows that boys are not superior to girls, not all cultures share that seemingly fundamental belief. China and India are two such examples of countries that have a different perspective on the “value” attached to a specific gender. The notion that boys have more worth than girls has increasingly lead to the practice of gendercide, the murder of a human person for no reason other than the fact that they are not the preferred sex. Not only is this horrifying practice happening in China and India but it is also increasing in Canada.
Reggie Littlejohn was one of the keynote speakers at the March for Life youth conference. She is the founder of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, an organization that directly opposes forced abortions and sterilizations in China.
While all of you are undoubtedly aware that the Communist party of China has a one-child policy, you may have never really thought much about how they enforce that policy. Through various photographs and video presentations Ms. Littlejohn showed the true violence and terror behind the one child policy.
One of these pictures shows a sign of Chinese characters strung across a city street. In a direct translation the sign reads: “If you do not abort, we will crush you and your family like a tornado!” While the wording may seem somewhat silly to an English speaker, the promise behind that threat is absolutely no laughing matter.
Since the institution of the one child policy in 1979, China currently has over 37 million more males than females. The government boasts that in those 24 years they have performed over 400 MILLION abortions. When you break down the stats you find that there are over 1500 abortions performed each hour in China. The sheer magnitude of those numbers is absolutely baffling — the fact that those numbers correspond to the murder of innocent babies is too terrible to fully grasp.
A strong anti-gendercide message at the 2013 March for Life in Ottawa
As in India, Chinese culture prefers sons to daughters. This is because sons carry the family name, they care for their parents in their old age, and a daughter is brought into the family when they marry. Daughters, on the other hand, are seen as an unworthy expense. One Indian saying states, “Having a daughter is like watering your neighbour’s tree.” This is part of the idea that children – male or female – are property, and females do not offer a good return investment. Due to this preference for sons, gendercide is widespread in the quest to have a boy child rather than a “useless” girl child.
More than this patriarchal desire for sons, the most distressing part is the Chinese government’s belief that they have the right to tell people how many children they are permitted to have. Specific units of enforcement called the “Family Planning Police” travel village to village rounding up women without birth permits and forcing them to undergo forced abortions on babies that these women very much want.
“Terror is now the purpose of the one child policy, “ Ms. Littlejohn proclaimed. “Forced abortion is official government rape.”
If this is so terrible why do the Chinese people not stand up in opposition to these atrocities? Here’s the thing: they are not truly free. They are not given the ease of free speech and they or their family can and will be punished for openly opposing the government in any way, shape, or form.
Take the example of blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng. He was imprisoned, abused, denied medical attention and constantly monitored simply for exposing that in 2005 there were over 130,000 forced abortions in his city alone.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers intervened on his behalf and finally, thanks to their efforts, he was granted political asylum in America just last year. Even though Chen is now free, he and Ms. Littlejohn affirm that the fight to end China’s barbaric one-child policy is only just beginning. Ms. Littlejohn has presented the horrors of China’s bestial policy to the UN, US Congress, the European, Canadian and Irish Parliaments among many other distinguished world governing bodies.
To oppose this you do not have to be of Chinese heritage, nor do you have to be a woman. You only have to be a human who believes that injustice cannot continue. We have to stand for life and say, “No, a government does not have the right to tell anyone how big their family can be, nor can they force anyone to abort their child.” Only by actively pursuing this and helping to educate others will we see an end to these crimes against humanity.