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Just days after WND reported that an announced change in China's one-child policy would not significantly reduce violence against women and girls in the form of selective abortions, the government-controlled Chinese news agency has acknowledged the revision will have little effect.
The Chinese news agency Xinhua, an official voice for the government, reported late last week that the one-child policy was being relaxed. The change would affect only a fraction of families, as it purportedly would allow a couple to have a second child if the husband or wife is an only-child. The previous requirement was that both husband and wife be only-children before they would be allowed a second child.
Immediately, headlines worldwide declared the policy was being relaxed.
But WND reported a critic of the policy insisted the change was insignificant.
"While we are glad for the second babies who will be born under this adjustment, instituting a two-child policy in certain, limited circumstances will not end forced abortion or forced sterilization," said Reggie Littlejohn, president of Womens Rights Without Frontiers.
Now a new Xinhua report confirms Chinese officials believe that the "birth policy changes are no big deal."
Wang Pei'an, deputy director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, told Xinhua that "the number of couples covered by the new policy is not very large across the country."
Last week, Littlejohn explained that even if all couples were allowed two children, there is no guarantee that the Chinese Communist Party "will cease their appalling methods of enforcement."
"Regardless of the number of children allowed, women who get pregnant without permission will still be dragged out of their homes, strapped down to tables and forced to abort babies that they want, even up to the ninth month of pregnancy. It does not matter whether you are pro-life or pro-choice on this issue," she said. "No one supports forced abortion, because it is not a choice."
She said instituting a two-child policy also will not end the Chinese government's "gendercide" in which girls are selectively aborted because of the cultural value of having a boy to maintain the family name.
"Indeed, areas in which two children currently are allowed are especially vulnerable to gendercide, the sex-selective abortion of females," she said.
Littlejohn cited a 2009 British Medical Journal study of 2005 national census data showing that in nine provinces, for "second order births" where the first child is a girl, 160 boys were born for every 100 girls.
The Chinese government's Wang explained there is "no unified timetable nationwide to start the new policy, as regions will implement it at different times based on their local situation."
He said the "basic state policy of family planning will be adhered to over a long period of time.”
Littlejohn said "to say that China has 'relaxed' or 'eased' its one child policy under these circumstances is completely unwarranted."
"To the contrary, Xinhua's weekend report makes it clear that the minor modification of the policy announced Friday: 1) will not affect a large percentage of couples in China; 2) is not currently subject to a timetable in which to implement it; 3) retains the dreaded 'birth intervals' between children (if a woman gets pregnant before the interval has lapsed, she may be subject to a crushing fine or forced abortion); 4) makes no promise to end the coercive enforcement of the Policy; and 5) promises to continue the One Child Policy 'over a long period of time' – which could be decades."
Littlejohn said that in a world "laden with compassion fatigue, people are relieved to cross China's one-0child policy off of their list of things to worry about."
"But we cannot do that," she insisted. "Let us not abandon the women of China, who continue to face forced abortion, up to the ninth month of pregnancy. The one child policy does not need to be adjusted. It needs to be abolished."
The Xinhua report estimated that the policy "has prevented 400 million people being added to China's population."
Wang said the "adjustment of birth policy does not ease family planning work."
Littlejohn has said China's one-child policy "causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth."
WND reported when Xinhua made its announcement.
Littlejohn said the problem with the one-child policy is not the number of children allowed but the fact that the government is" telling women how many children they can have and then enforcing that limit through forced abortion, forced sterilization and infanticide."
Xinhua's report said China "will loosen its decades-long one-child population policy, allowing couples to have two children if one of them is an only child."
According to the report, China will implement the new policy "while adhering to the basic state policy of family planning, according to the decision on major issues concerning comprehensively deepening reforms, which was approved at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held from Nov. 9 to 12 in Beijing."
"The birth policy will be adjusted and improved step by step to promote long-term balanced development of the population in China," the report said.
"'Relaxing the policy will keep China's birth rate at a stable level,' said Guo Zhenwei, a family-planning official with the National Health and Family Planning Commission."
But Littlejohn said there was nothing that would "ease" the policy.
She also noted that because unborn baby girls are targeted, there is a huge imbalance in China.
"Because of this gendercide, there are an estimated 37 million Chinese men who will never marry because their future wives were terminated before they were born. 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."
Xinhua reported that part of the driving force is that the nation is aging, and there are too few workers.
"China's labor force, at about 940 million, decreased by 3.45 million year on year in 2012, marking the first 'absolute decrease.' The labor force is estimated to decrease by about 29 million over the current decade," the report said.
"The Chinese Communist Party periodically modifies the one child policy, but the coercion at its core remains. Reports of these tweaks – especially when mischaracterized by Western media – throw the human rights world into confusion and blunt genuine efforts to end forced abortion in China," Littlejohn said. "On Sept. 9, 2010, for example, TIME ran the headline, 'China Could Overthrow One-Child Rule.' Myriad other news sources followed suit. This dramatic headline was based on the fact that China proposed to run a pilot program allowing some couples to have two children. Soon afterwards, on September 25, 2010 – the 30th anniversary of the one child policy – a top population control official praised the policy and stated that China 'will stick to the family planning policy in the coming decades.' Moreover, despite this pilot program, numerous reports of late-term forced abortions have surfaced since 2010, including the forced abortion at seven months of Feng Jianmei in June 2012."
WND recently reported some of the results of the policy. In one case, a family was told the expected baby was a girl, and abortion was in the offing. But into action jumped workers for Womens Rights Without Frontiers, offering help to the mother so that she could carry the baby to term.
The expected baby girl turned out to be a boy.
"The ultrasound was wrong," a report from Littlejohn explained. "In tears, the mother thanks us for saving her son, almost lost because he was expected to be a girl."
The report of the mistake and the miraculous results of the intervention of the international organization that fights gendercide marked the international community's recognition of the International Day of the Girl Child.
A report from Littlejohn explained the trauma facing unborn baby girls.
"For most of us, hearing 'it's a girl' is cause for enormous joy, happiness and celebration. But in many countries, this announcement is a death sentence. Experts estimate that up to 200 million women are missing in the world today due to gendercide, mostly in China and India.
"This should not be a pro-choice or a pro-life issue. This is a human rights issue. Gendercide is violence against women and girls. No one supports the systematic elimination of females," the report said.
"Or so I thought. Just last week it was reported that it is now legal to selectively abort girls in the UK," she continued, "Where is the 'feminist' outcry? How does it advance women's rights to selectively abort hundreds of millions of girls, simply because they are future women? When faced with human rights atrocities of this scale, silence is complicity."
But she said there are all too many situations in which "gendercide" isn't a choice.
"There is a strong correlation between sex-selective abortion and coercion. Crushing social, economic, political and personal pressures in cultures with a strong son preference trample women carrying girls. Women in these cultures hardly select their daughters for abortion. They are forced," the report said.