Hearing on Eve of Obama Trip to China…
Smith Chairs Hearing on Human Rights Abuses of Women in China
A panel of human rights activists testified at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission today about how the Chinese government is abusing women and up-ending the traditional Chinese family, announced U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Ranking Member of the Commission who chaired the hearing this afternoon.
A panel of human rights activists testified at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission today about how the Chinese government is abusing women and up-ending the traditional Chinese family. U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Ranking Member of the Commission who chaired the hearing this afternoon took the opportunity to call on President Obama to ensure that human rights do not take a backseat to economic issues during the President’s state visit to China this week.
“Human rights are trivialized by China, and the United States has been sending a message that profits and money-making trumps human rights,” said Smith, a senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Ranking Member on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
“As President Obama embarks on this trip, we appeal to him to seriously raise the plight of Chinese women,” said Smith who was recently nominated by President Obama to be Congressional Representative to the United Nations. “It is outrageous that the Obama Administration lavishly funds—to the tune of $50 million—organizations, including the U.N. Population Fund, that partner with China’s National Population Planning Commission.” Click hear to read the Congressman's full statement.
The Chinese government requires would-be parents to obtain permits before becoming pregnant. Crippling, ruinous fines are levied on families who break the one-child policy, along with harassment and coerced abortions. Additionally, China suffers from the highest female suicide rate in the world, five times the international average, at a rate of 500 suicides per day.
Nicholas Eberstadt, a policy expert from the American Enterprise Institute, testified that the centuries-old traditional Chinese family has been abruptly dissolved, with millions of children now having no aunts or uncles, and no brothers and sisters.
“We have seen the emergence of the one child family and the end of 2,500 years of the traditional Chinese family,” Eberstadt said.
Rebiya Kadeer, a Muslim-Chinese native and former Chinese prisoner who heads the Uyghur-American Association, said that after the July 2009 anti-government protests and uprising among the Uyghur people, the United States offered little protest at the arrest of 200 people, followed by rushed trials, hurried appeals and ultimately executions carried out this week.
“Because there was no reaction by the U.S., they began sentencing people,” said Kadeer. “Because of the silence of the U.S. administration we saw nine people executed yesterday.”
Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, called the one child policy violence of individuals on an historic scale. She said that since Obama is now a Nobel Peace prize winner, he should act the part of a protector of human rights.
“This is the worst violence against women in human history,” said Littlejohn, noting that both pro-life and pro-choice advocates can agree that forced abortion is immoral.
Smith thanked the panelists for shedding new light on what is three decades of forced population control in China.
“Few people outside China understand what a massive and cruel system of social control the one-child policy entails,” Smith told the panelist. “As the U.S. China Commission summarized, the system is “marked by pervasive propaganda, mandatory monitoring of women's reproductive cycles, mandatory contraception, mandatory birth permits, coercive fines for failure to comply, and, in some cases, forced sterilization and abortion.
“On Thursday, President Obama travels to Asia, and will be in Beijing for four days of meetings with the government responsible for these crimes against humanity,” Smith said. “I hope he will not conduct these meetings in the same airy spirit that Secretary Clinton expressed on her first visit to China, when she dismissed the human rights of the Chinese people as irrelevant to her relationship with the Chinese government. She said that we can’t let human rights “interfere” with peddling U.S. debt.
“I believe the Chinese government would respond to the President if he were to take the lead in speaking up in defense of human rights in China,” Smith said. “The Chinese government is sensitive to how it is viewed by the rest of the world. Its rapidly increasing influence in the world, serving as the new model for authoritarian regimes throughout Asia and Africa, is all the more reason for us to defend the rights of the Chinese people. If we are not willing to work to improve the human rights standards by which China is governed, we are going to find China degrading the human rights standards the rest of us live by.”