Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)

  1.  The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is a lobbying and educational membership organisation, founded in London in 1967 to defend human life from conception to natural death. SPUC has been invited by parliamentary committees to submit evidence on a range of topics.

  2.  SPUC has been concerned about the violation of human rights abuses by China's population control programme, the "one-child policy" (OCP), since the policy's inception over a generation ago.

  3.  During the last two inquiries into the FCO Human Rights Annual Reports, the FAC has not only responded to SPUC's concerns but obtained results from the FCO in relation to the one-child policy. SPUC is extremely grateful to the FAC for the integrity it has demonstrated through its active sensitivity to our concerns.

  4.  In its February 2002 Report, the FAC said:

    In the [FCO's 2001 HR] Report the Government sets out 10 objectives of a high-level critical dialogue on human rights issues between China and the United Kingdom and its EU partners, objectives with which we agree. There is, however, one omission. We suggest that the human rights abuses which have occurred as a result of China's population control programme [footnote to SPUC submission]—"coercive fertility control", as described by the Secretary of State for International Development [footnote to HC Debate, 7 November 2001, Col. 285],—should also appear as a matter to be addressed in this list of objectives, and should be mentioned in future Human Rights Annual Reports.


  5.  In its March 2003 Report on the FCO's 2003 HR Report, the FAC:

    recommend[ed] that the FCO give serious consideration to a fundamental re-evaluation of its work with China on the issue of human rights, given that the current strategy appears to be yielding few tangible results.

  6.  In brief, the section on China's one-child policy in the FCO's 2003 HR Report bears neither evidence that the FCO has "give[n] serious consideration to a fundamental re-evaluation of its work with China on the issue of human rights" nor any results, at least on the issue of the one-child policy.

  7.  In its response to the FAC's March 2003 Report, the FCO explicitly rejected a suggestion by the FAC's February 2002 Report thus:

    [T]he [FAC's February 2003] report noted that the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children had stressed "the continuing human rights abuses resulting from the often brutal enforcement of China's one child policy, which had been understated in the Report. The FAC last year [2002] called for the one child policy to be included as a subject raised at the Human Rights Dialogue. We have considered this at length and have concluded that the Dialogue is not the best forum in which to raise this. The Dialogue already covers a wide range of issues. DFID takes the lead within Her Majesty's Government for funding UN family planning projects, and they have established contact with the Chinese State Family Planning Ministry. We have made clear to the Chinese that family planning policies should be based on free and informed parental choice and not on coercion.

  8.  The human rights records of foreign governments falls squarely within the FCO's remit. It is not acceptable that they should "pass the buck" to DFID—which is actively supporting the policy behind the abuses. Although the FCO 2003 HR Report claims that:

    The UK Government ... has made it clear we feel [China's family planning policies] should be based on the principles of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD): that is, on consent, not coercion. P230,

it also admits that:

    DfID's bilateral programme has not had a specific objective or programme of activities on the promotion of ICPD. P230,

  9.  Furthermore, although DFID claims that:

    All UK Government assistance for sexual and reproductive health is contingent on respect for the human rights principles and standards of privacy and free and informed choice upheld at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (Clare Short, House of Commons, 27 July 1999£90727w21.htm_spnew1)

  DfID has refused point-blank even to take account of the one-child policy's human rights violations when deciding on its bilateral aid to China:

    I do not agree that the [International Development] Bill should include a requirement for the Secretary of State to take account of a government's human rights record in determining the nature and scale of assistance for its people. (DfID Minister Baroness Amos, House of Lords, 16 July 2001)

  10.  When a cross-party coalition of peers attempt to amend the International Development Bill to prevent taxpayers' funds being used for coercive population control, the government imposed what was rumoured to be a three-line whip against the amendment.

  11.  DfID in turn shifts responsibility over the issue of the one-child policy to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). However, as detailed in later of our submission, UNFPA and IPPF are complicit in China's coercive population control programme.

  12.  In a February 2000 letter to former International Development Secretary Clare Short, Hong Kong-based Sinologist Audrey Donnithorne, formerly Professorial Fellow and Foundation Head of the Contemporary China Centre at the Australian National University, wrote:

    I am sorry if the British Government is so naíve and ill-informed as to believe that the Chinese Government's population control activities, which it is aiding, adhere to these [ICPD] principles. Those of us who are nearer to the scene, and better informed, realise that this is far from true. For example, friends of mine in Mainland China are currently sheltering a woman, pregnant with her second child, who knows all too well that she might be coerced into having an abortion if she was discovered by the government authorities. In view of coercion of this type, which is known to be widespread at the present time, the British government should cease forthwith to give financial assistance to population control activities carried on by the Chinese Government.

    "The UK Government has never questioned China's right or need to implement family planning policies but has made it clear we feel they should be based on the principles of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD): that is, on consent, not coercion." p 230, FCO 2003 HR Report

  13.  China's right and need to implement its national population control policy should be questioned. The legality of the establishment of the one-child policy is questionable:

  Award-winning author on China and former Beijing bureau chief for the South China Morning Post, Jasper Becker, has written:

  "The [one-child] policy was hurriedly conceived in 1979 by a handful of men without research or consultation and in the absence of current population statistics ... Deng Xiaoping personally approved the policy before it could tested or studied by social scientists or any other experts. Although a key plank of China's reforms, it was never debated, enshrined in any law or approved by the National People's Congress, nor did it draw on any powers listed in the Constitution....The huge raft of implementing regulations, the harsh punishments meted out to those who disregard them and the 80,000 full-time family planning workers who enforce them were brought into being by Party diktat." (Jasper Becker, The Chinese, John Murray, London, 2000, P370-71).

  (Ed At face value, the figure of 80,000 full-time family planning workers seems to contradict the figure of 300,000 such workers claimed previously in the same book and quoted in paragraph 22 of this submission. However, SPUC has been advised by experts that the available figures of numbers of family planning workers in China are very unreliable. What is indisputable, however, is Mr Becker's claim that the one-child policy is executed by a "vast and coercive machinery", cf para 22.)

  14.  Dr John S Aird, former senior China specialist at the US Bureau of the Census, is regarded as one of the world's leading experts on the one-child policy. Dr Aird has kindly given SPUC permission to present the FAC with his comments on the section on the one-child policy in the FCO's 2003 HR Report:

  The authors of the report seem to be unaware that the notion that population pressure adversely affects human welfare has never been empirically demonstrated. The relevant statistical evidence from international experience since the 1960s has been equivocal. Therefore the "need" for a national population control policy is questionable. The Chinese leadership have accepted the idea as a matter of great certainty once Mao finally changed his mind about the economic advantages of a large and growing population—a notion that also remains unproven and doubtful.

  As for "making it clear" that China should base its family planning programme on ICPD principles, the Chinese have never followed those principles and their violation of them is a continuing international outrage. The gentle, almost listless, remonstrances periodically put forth by foreign governments, the UNFPA, and the IPPF have never conveyed enough conviction and concern to have any appreciable deterrent effect on the Chinese programme. Their continuing support of the Chinese programme has always sent the message that they really do not take seriously violations of human rights that advance the cause of population control. That is how the Chinese government reads the message, and their reading of it is apparently correct.

  15.  According to a report by Chinese state news agency Xinhua, China has recently renewed its commitment to birth quotas for at least the next 20 years. ("PRC Law on Population and Family Planning", 29 December 2001).

  16.  Furthermore, language such as "we feel they should" is so weak that it strongly implies that the FCO believes that adherence to the ICPD principles is merely a suggestion of something optional at the discretion of the Chinese regime. Such weak language represents a failure to implement recommendation 28 of the FAC's November 2000 Report on China:

    We welcome—and endorse—the strong language which the Government uses to condemn human rights abuses in China, and we recommend that it continue to do so in all appropriate circumstances.

    "We have been concerned about reports of human rights abuses associated with the family planning policy, for example enforced sterilisations and abortions, and the selective abortion of female foetuses or abandonment of baby girls." (p 230, FCO 2003 HR Report)

  17.  In contrast to this low key approach, leading feminist academic Wendy McElroy has described the situation as:

    arguably the greatest bioethical atrocity on the globe (Fox News Views, 24 September 2002),2933,63892,00.html

  18.  Again, such weak language on the part of the FCO represents a failure to implement recommendation 28 of the FAC's November 2000 Report on China

      We welcome—and endorse—the strong language which the Government uses to condemn human rights abuses in China, and we recommend that it continue to do so in all appropriate circumstances.

  19.  It must be noted that the reports of human rights violations referred to have been scrutinised and endorsed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the US State Department et al. In its November 2000 Report on China, the FAC said:

      [W]e believe that it is highly likely that very many more cases of abuse have occurred and are occurring than ever come to the attention of outside observers of China. As Dr Jane Duckett of Glasgow University put it, "commonly reported human rights issues are only the tip of the iceberg. Because there is no guarantee of free and fair trial, there are many more miscarriages of justice, often affecting the poorest and weakest in society.£a23

  20.  The phrase FCO uses: "abuses associated with the family planning policy" suggests, misleadingly, that these "abuses" such as enforced abortions are really side-effects of the policy, or even only happen when the one-child policy has not been implemented fully! For example, Zhang Weiqing, director of the State Family Planning Commission, claimed in December 2000 that a recent case of infanticide by family planning workers was "an isolated incident" and declared that:

      We've always been opposed to coercion in these cases and we are extremely opposed to induced abortion.

      ("China admits mistakes in enforcing one-child policy", AFP/The Taipei Times, 20 December 2000)

  21.  Amnesty International has rebutted this claim:

      Birth control has been compulsory in China since 1979 and the official line that "coercion" is not permitted is flatly contradicted by the facts. ("Human rights in China: the attacks on fundamental rights continue", T. Kumar, Advocacy Director for Asia & Pacific, Amnesty International USA, 11 February 1999)

  22.  Coercion and induced abortion is and has always been at the one-child policy's heart:

      [A]lthough state spending on rural healthcare has declined sharply over the last two decades, the family planning service, with 300,000 full-time workers and 80 million volunteers, has been relatively well-funded. The vast and coercive machinery was responsible for 8.7 million abortions in 1981, 12.4 million in the following year and 14.4 million in 1983. That year there were also 18 million insertions of uterine devices and 21 million sterilizations . . . In the much tougher climate after 1989, the state launched another big drive in which 10 million people were sterilized in one year . . . In the early 1990s rural cadres were executed for having accepted money to issue a birth certificate for a second or subsequent child. (Jasper Becker, The Chinese, John Murray, London, 2000, P236)

  23.  In 1979 Chinese Vice-Premier Chen Muhua described the one-child policy as

      A policy of encouragement and punishment for maternity, with encouragement as the main feature, will be implemented. Parents having one child will be encouraged, and strict measures will be enforced to control the birth of two or more babies. Everything should be done to insure that the natural population growth rate in China falls to zero by 2000. (Quoted by Dr John Aird, Congressional-Executive Commission on China)

  The late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, regarded as the father of the one-child policy, said in 1987:

      In order to reduce the population, use whatever means you must, but do it!

      (China Spring Digest, New York).

  Peng Peiyun, the then minister-in-charge of the State Family Planning Commission, said in 1991 that

      Couples all have a duty to practise family planning. This is stipulated in our constitution (interview, Agence France Press).

  (It is perhaps significant that in the new Chinese Constitution of 1982, an additional article on family planning was added stipulating, as Peng Peiyun correctly states, that "Both husband and wife have the duty to practise family planning". [article 49]

  The 1992 Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Women's Rights and the Interests of Women says:

      when a wife terminates gestation as required by the family planning programme, her husband may not apply for a divorce within six months after the operation. (article 42)

  (Ed. These two quotations seem to contradict Jasper Becker's statement above that the one-child policy was never "enshrined in any law" nor "did it draw on any powers listed in the Constitution". However, Becker seems to be referring specifically to the one-child aspect of China's population control policy, to the policy as a whole and to the absence of specific powers in the Constitution enforcing the one-child aspect of the policy; as distinct from disparate references to the provisions of the policy which, as Dr Aird explains later (see below), are to be found in a wide range of official government documents which nonetheless have the force of law.)

  24.  The official national family planning journal China Population stated in June 1993:

      So far the reduction in the PRC's rural fertility rate has been the result of external restraints: that is the mechanism involved has been a coercion-based reduction mechanism.

  A 1994 article in China's leading demographic journal Demographic Research stated:

      It cannot be denied that population control in China is a control model guided by administrative coercion.

      Associated Press reported in 1997:

      "It would be better to have blood flow like a river than to increase the population by one", reads one rural slogan, according to a report by the Chinese newspaper International Trade News. (Renee Schoof, "No 1 Difficulty", AP, 5 July 1997)

  An editorial in the official People's Daily newspaper in September 2000 insisted that

      We cannot just be content with the current success, we must make population control a permanent policy.

  The FAC, in its November 2000 report on China, insisted on

      one fundamental fact: that, from all the evidence gathered, China remains now one of a minority of the world's nations which institutionalises abuse of human rights [SPUC emphasis]

  25.  The "abuses" cited in the FCO 2003 HR Report omit some other equally serious human rights violations under the one-child policy such as infanticide, arbitrary detention and physical abuse of pregnant women and their families, and the oppression of ethnic minorities:

      What is the UK doing helping to fund birth control policies in Tibet, an occupied country? With Tibetans a rapidly shrinking minority in their own land, rigid birth control—especially in conjunction with China's inhumane policies of enforced sterilisation and abortion—amounts to genocide. How is it possible that the UK can support a system where Han Chinese in Tibet are allowed more children than Tibetans? It's time the UK government behaved ethically. (Tibet Vigil press release, 24 August 2000)—7.html

  26.  The FCO Report has also omitted to mention (unlike Amnesty International) the use of torture under the one-child policy:

      [Zhou Jiangxiong, a] 30-year-old farmer from Hunan province was tortured to death [by officials from a township birth control office in May 1998] because the officials were trying to make him reveal the whereabouts of his wife, suspected of being pregnant without permission. ("China: Extensive use of torture—from police to tax collectors to birth control officials", Amnesty International Index ASA 17/003/2001, 12 February 2001)

  27.  Yet another omission is the recent phenomenon of child trafficking:China's one-child policy has fuelled trafficking in children, experts have said, as many families are unable to have a son or wanting a second child opt to buy one.—asiapacific/view/67125/1/.html

  "In May 2002 the Chinese minister for state family planning told the UK Government that rights abuses did still occur, particularly in remote and poor regions." (P.230, FCO 2003 HR Report)

  28.  Dr Aird's response is:

      Of course he did. That has been the official Chinese cover story on the coercion question for the past two decades and more. It is also a lie. Chinese policy up to the present time still holds local officials responsible for meeting their family planning targets and punishes them if they fail. On 30 April 2003, Fujian Province dismissed four local officials from their posts for failing to pursue family planning effectively, and the action was announced in the provincial Party newspaper, obviously as a warning to other local leaders to take their duties seriously. On 6 June 2003, the Qinghai provincial Party newspaper reported on a standing committee meeting at which family planning officials were told that they should "ensure that actual results will be achieved" in family planning work and added that:

      " . . . Departments concerned should scientifically set the targets for assessment of the family planning work. The targets should not be set too low, since this will not impose pressure on cadres and will not produce results in work. However, the targets should not be set too high either, because this is liable to produce a false phenomenon."

    In March 2003 China's new president and Party Chairman, Hu Jintao, told a national forum on population, resources, and environmental work that these efforts still face "certain severe challenges and significant problems which urgently require solution." He said that "all the comrades of the Party must place great emphasis on this. They must resolutely overcome sentiments such as blind optimism, slackness and inactivity, negativity, and fear of difficulty . . . They must continue to keep a tight grasp on population, resources, and environmental work."

    Later that same month, in his annual government work report for the previous year, Chinese premier Zhu Rongji said, "We established and improved the target responsibility system for population and family planning and implemented this basic state policy in real earnest."

    From these indicators (and there are others) it is clear that the central authorities do not intend to relax the pressures on local officials to attain their assigned goals in family planning work (now merged with resource and environment concerns to lend it greater urgency). It is these pressures that lead to coercion at the local level, and as long as local officials are held personally responsible for attainment of family planning targets and punished when they fail, the coercion will continue. The so-called "target management responsibility system" is still in force, and foreign evaluations of the programme that ignore this aspect of the programme, continue to make excuses for the Chinese programme, and repeat disingenuous Chinese government propaganda about it, in effect condone the coercion.

      "There are now fewer reports of coerced abortions and positive signs that the medical and family planning staff are focussing less on enforcing the policy and more on providing family planning support." (P230, FCO 2003 HR Report)

  29.  Yet these indicators may be creating a false impression, as Dr Aird explains:

    After several reports of beatings and killings of family planning violators got into the international media in 1998-2001 and embarrassed the Chinese government, there was an attempt in the spring of 2002 to suppress some of the more extreme forms of coercion or at least keep them out of Chinese newspapers, from which foreign reporters picked them up. But that anti-coercion effort was brief (like several earlier such efforts) and seems to have ended more than a year ago. The overall incidence of coercion in the programme cannot be quantified with any accuracy. Despite the published figures, nothing can be said with confidence about whether the numbers of forced abortions, sterilizations, IUD insertions, and implants is actually rising or falling. Forced abortions apparently tend to decrease during a tightening of control, presumably because fewer couples will risk an unauthorized pregnancy if they think it is unlikely they can carry it to term without being caught by the authorities. A decline in the numbers of such reports may simply mean a tightening of media control to suppress the news or more successful intimidation of couples of childbearing age. In both cases coercion is rising and reproductive freedom is being further curtailed, while the gross indicators of it are becoming less conspicuous.

    Actually, the liberal media have for years (ever since the 1983 crash programme of compulsory birth control surgeries [eg abortions, sterilisations etc] been saying that the number of such operations has declined, simply because subsequent peaks never quite equalled those of 1983. The result is that the more recent escalations in human rights violations under the Chinese programme have been masked by the mistaken presumption of a steady downward trend in coercive incidents. Chinese government spokespersons, including officials of the State Family Planning Commission, have often made similar assertions, which foreign journalists and foreign government officials supportive of the UNFPA and the family planning movement have rushed to embrace.

  30.  For example, Shanghai, China's richest city, is often held up as an example of how contemporary China is being "Westernised". Yet still in Shanghai:

    [M]ost couples in the city are only allowed to have one child....Anyone who deliberately gives false information while applying to have a second child will be seriously punished, said Xie Lingli, director of the population commission. He said punishments still haven't been worked out, but will likely involve a fine, and the city could pass on information to local credit rating services, making it tough for the offenders to get a bank loan.... Couples who break the law will still be required to pay a fine, or "social fostering fee," as the government calls it. The fee is based on the couple's annual income.

  "China's one child policy was only given a legislative basis in September 2002... The new law represents an important step forward and enshrines the rights and responsibilities of the government and citizens in reproductive health..." (p.230, FCO 2003 HR Report)

  31.  This claim is totally false.

    As US Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote in July 2002:

    "This law reflects and reinforces the strict rules in the PRC that lead to coercion, including the "social compensation fees" and disciplinary measures on couples who violate the state-prescribed number of children. The law, which will become effective on September 1, 2002, includes population control quotas (Article 11) and fines ("premiums") for violating the one-child law (Article 41 (bringing children into society) ).

  Article 17 states that

    "Citizens . . . are also duty-bound undergo family planning as provided for in the law."

  and Article 18 defines that the law's true purpose is

    "uphold a single-child policy for married couples" .

  Note that unmarried people are not permitted to have children.

  32.  A US State Department delegation to China in May 2002 stated that:

    [O]ur team looks upon [social compensation fees] as a coercive element that will shortly have a new legal basis when the Law on Population and Birth Planning goes into effect on September 1, 2002. ("Second Finding: Coercive Elements in Practice and Law," US State Department Delegation to China, 29 May 2002).

  33.  In brief, the new law violates the ICPD principles that "[a]ll couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children."

  34.  In an article in the official People's Daily newspaper entitled "No Relaxation of Chinese `One Couple, One Child' Policy: Official", family planning minister Zhao Bingli warned that

    from the date that the law took effect, those who have an extra-policy birth must face the music.—102440.shtml

  Another article in the People's Daily entitled "China Clears Way to Enforce First Family Planning Law" reports that

    [B]illboards in villages and urban communities were being used to inform people about the law. There is even a brochure published by the China Population Publishing House which uses cartoons to warn people not to break the law....Peng Peiyun, vice-chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said: "To set the implementation date eight months later than its enactment ensures there is enough time to prepare and to have every Chinese knowing the law and observing it.—100838.shtml

  The South China Morning Post reported that

    The legislation basically incorporates current policy and practice. ... Analysts say China is unlikely to see a major departure [from] or relaxation of the coercive one-child policy. ... ...The legislation has failed to prescribe detailed prohibitions against the well-documented abuses that have been perpetrated in the name of the policy, analysts said. (Clara Li, South China Morning Post, 5 January 2002)

  The BBC reported that

    The legislation stipulates, among other things, that urban couples should generally have only one child. Violators face fines. Local authorities will be responsible for making sure the law is observed. The Chinese government maintains that the law neither relaxes nor tightens the current policy, but seeks to stabilize it. Zhang Weiqing, director of the State Family Planning Commission, told the press that as the country's population continued to grow by an average of 10 million annually, the law would be maintained as a long-term basic national policy. ("Concern at Chinese family planning law", 9 January 2002)—reports/1751680.stm

  35.  As Dr Aird comments, for the FCO to say that "the new law represents an important step forward" is a rather silly thing to say. Government policies in China, official "circulars" and directives, and exhortations by Party leaders, all have the force of law, whether or not they are incorporated into actual legislation at the national or provincial level. As for the Population and Family Planning Law that officially took effect from 1 September 2002, which is referred to in the quoted sentence, nobody knows exactly what it authorizes or prohibits yet—not even people in China. On 20 August 2003, a Chinese internet newspaper in English issued from Beijing noted that one of the duties of the newly empowered State Population and Family Planning Commission, which replaced the old SFPC as of March 2003, will be to "work out detailed rules for implementing existing laws and regulations, which currently provide only general guidelines." The practical implications of the 2002 law and the 2003 reorganization of the SFPC remain to be seen, but from recent comments by the Chinese leadership, the intent was NOT to weaken family planning enforcement or dilute the efforts at population control but to reinforce control. Any notion that the vague assurances in the law about carrying out family planning in a "civilized manner" or respecting the "legitimate rights" of citizens will mean greater recognition of human rights in family planning is mere wishful thinking. That was never the main purpose of the 20-year effort to come up with a national family planning law.

  36.  It is clear that the FCO has been misled about the new law, which makes no significant change in the one-child policy.

    "Although the potential for conflict between reproductive choice and direct use of financial incentives still exists, the separation between the collection and use of revenues generated through the system may reduce the incentives for official abuse." (P230, FCO 2003 HR Report)

  37.  Dr Aird comments that

    This statement lacks forthrightness. It is even vaguer than the law itself. In Article 41 the 2002 law clearly provides for the imposition of financial penalties on couples who have children without permission, which it euphemizes as the payment of "premiums" into a "fund set up for bringing children into society." Ostensibly a reimbursement to the state for the costs of rearing the unauthorized children, these penalties are clearly meant as fines to deter unauthorized childbearing. To call them "incentives" is dishonest. They are, in fact, ways to deny reproductive choice to the people of China. Other ways, such as mandatory abortions, sterilizations, and the rest are hidden in obscure language in the law—in the affirmation that citizens are "duty-bound to [practice] family planning" in Article 17 and that "husbands and wives of childbearing age shall ... accept... family planning technical services" (ie birth control surgeries) in Article 20. The long shadow of the 1983 surgery drive still looms over the people of China!

    "The Department for International Development (DFID) supports and monitors UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) programmes in China. These programmes seek to encourage China towards full acceptance of the ICPD principles. The focus of UNFPA support is to improve the quality of medical care and increasing equity of access to family planning services." (P230, FCO 2003 HR Report)

  38.  Yet, as the US State Department concluded in July 2002,

    UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion.

  and therefore

    is supporting or participating in the management of a "program of coercive abortion."

  39.  As the State Department explains,

    UNFPA provides millions of dollars in financial support for PRC family-planning activities in the 32 counties in which it operates. These outlays include expenditures for equipment such as computers and data-processing equipment designed to strengthen management capacity at the county level, surgical and other medical equipment and project vehicles. Although such equipment has legitimate uses, it also facilitates the imposition of social compensation fees and the performance of abortions on those women who are coerced by the social compensation fees to undergo abortions that they would otherwise not undergo. For example, recent testimony of a former planned-birth officer makes clear that something as seemingly innocuous as data-processing equipment is used to establish a database record of all women of child-bearing age in an area and to trigger the issuance of "birth-not-allowed" notices and the imposition of social compensation fees. Not only has UNFPA failed to ensure that its support does not facilitate these practices; it also has failed to deploy the resources necessary even to monitor this issue. In the context of the PRC, supplying equipment to the very agencies that employ coercive practices amounts to support or participation in the management of the program.

    UNFPA participates in other ways in the management of the relevant PRC county field offices that propagate the government's distinction between legal births and out-of-plan births. It takes credit for posted documents that note that it is forbidden "to prevent legal births"—thus bearing partial responsibility for disseminating a message that it is not forbidden for government employees to prevent out-of-plan births. More generally, UNFPA is helping improve the administration of the local family planning offices that are administering the very social compensation fees and other penalties that are effectively coercing women to have abortions.

    (Analysis of Determination that Kemp-Kasten Amendment Precludes Further Funding to UNFPA under Pub. L. 107-115, 18 July 2002)

  40.  In 1985, the Governing Council of UNFPA declared that "... it is the policy of the Fund, in accordance with its own family planning guidelines...not to provide assistance for abortions, abortion services or abortion-related equipment and supplies as a method of family planning."—19.htm The State Department's findings indicate that UNFPA's collaboration with China's population programme constitutes a violation of its own policy.

  41.  A delegation of British MPs to China in April 2002 found that in UNFPA programme countries:

    "citizens still have to pay a social compensation payment if they have more than one or two children",

which is:

    set at a level which most families would find extremely difficult to pay. It therefore acts as a pretty powerful incentive to conform. This is a form of coercion. (China Mission Report by Christine McCafferty, Edward Leigh and Norman Lamb, 2 July 2002

  In fact, such fines may be as high as seven to eight times a couple's annual salary.

  42.  These findings led the US administration to cut off funding for UNFPA, on the grounds that US federal funding for UNFPA would be illegal under US law which prohibits the funding of any organisation which "supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion". 2002 was not the first time that UNFPA has been deemed ineligible for funding because of its complicity in the one-child policy. In 1985, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) declared that "the kind and quality of assistance provided by UNFPA contributed significantly to China's ability to manage and implement a population program in which coercion was pervasive." All US federal funding for UNFPA was deemed illegal by the US administration between 1985 and 1992. Between 1993 and 1995, and again in 1998, general funding of UNFPA was allowed but only subject to a condition that US funds would be maintained in a segregated account, none of which could be used in China. In 2000 and 2001, general funding for UNFPA was again allowed but this time on the condition that the amount that UNFPA spent in China would be deducted from the total amount. As explained above, in 2002 UNFPA was deemed ineligible for any funding under the same law which was applied between 1985 and 1992. ( UNFPA's supporters have been lobbying to alter or remove this law in order to secure US federal funding for UNFPA.

  43.  IPPF also supports and (through its affiliate association, the China Family Planning Association) participates in the management of China's programme of coercive abortion. IPPF has even denied that the one-child policy is coercive. Its representative, Laura Barclay, said that to

    "accuse the Chinese government of enforcing heinous practices officially at a national policy level" was "a gross untruth". (Letter to the Catholic Herald, London, 28 September 2001.)

  44.  Such a denial of the one-child policy is unsurprising considering the organic relationship between IPPF and the Chinese state. The body specifically responsible for ensuring the policy's implementation at grassroots level, the China Family Planning Association (CFPA), has been an IPPF member since 1983, the year commonly regarded as the worst year for coercion. CFPA is a state-run body: none of its top leaders have been ordinary citizens unaffiliated with government or the Party. ("Orders of the State: Responsibility and Collaboration in China's Population Programme", Martin Moss and Jeffrey Bowe, Independent Tibet Network UK, 2000, P34.) CFPA's function was made clear by the dispatch announcing its founding (29 May 1980) issued by the state news agency Xinhua:

    The association will implement government population control policies.

  45.  In a 1993 CFPA report distributed at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) at Cairo, CFPA has admitted that it has:

    participated and supervised that the awarding and punishing policies relating to family planning were properly executed.

  IPPF itself has admitted that CFPA volunteers sometimes collect the occasional fine when a couple breaks the birthplan rules (IPPF's "People" magazine, vol 16, no 1, 1989).

  CFPA president Song Ping exhorted in 1992:

    Raise the level of eugenics to a new height (Xinhua news report, 20 November 1992).

  CFPA has also received funding from UNFPA.

  46.  As long ago as 1995, the Overseas Development Agency (now DfID) document China: Population Issues stated:

    Critics of this position argue that several years of UNFPA and IPPF involvement in China has not led the Chinese to moderate their policies or stop abuses in the implementation of policy. This is true.

  47.  This is unsurprising when one considers that UNFPA signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the Chinese government in the very year that the one-child policy was introduced (1979). In 1981, UNFPA executive director Rafael Salas called the one-child policy "a superb example of integrating population programs with the goals of national development." In 1983, the year commonly regarded as the worst year for coercion, UNFPA gave one of its first two United Nations Population Awards to the Minister-in-Charge of the State Family Planning Commission. ("Popline", vol 5 no 9, October 1983, P4; also cited by Dr John Aird, Congressional-Executive Commission on China, In 1984, Rafael Salas stated that UNFPA had found no evidence of "abuses". ("Paying for abortion", The Wall Street Journal, 9 April 1984, p 34). In 1985, the People's Daily, the Communist Party's official newspaper, reported that Salas told Premier Zhao Ziyang that:

    My colleagues and I come to visit at this time to reaffirm our support of China in the field of population activities. China should feel proud of the achievements made in her family planning program.

  48.   In 1989 UNFPA's then executive director Nafis Sadik denied that the one-child policy was coercive, declaring it to be "totally voluntary" and claiming "there is no such thing, as you know, [as] a license to have a birth and so on." (American TV network CBS, 21 November 1989.)

  In 1991, Nafis Sadik told the Chinese state news agency Xinhua that

    China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy and control of its population growth. (Xinhua, 11 April 1991)

  In 2002 China's State Family Planning Commission awarded Nafis Sadik with a Population Award (

  In 2001, in a report entitled "UNFPA Praises China's Family Planning Policy," the People's Daily said that new UNFPA executive director Thoraya Obaid praised that over the past 20 years, China has seen notable achievements made in population control by implementing the family planning policy.

  49.  UNFPA and IPPF claim to support the ICPD Programme for Action, which demands that ".  .  . in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning." However, it is clear from the evidence of their collaboration with the China's population programme that UNFPA and IPPF are in violation of the ICPD principles.

  50.  At the very least, UNFPA and IPPF have worked too closely with the Chinese regime over the past two decades for anyone to have confidence that they can be relied upon to exercise independent and effective leverage on the China regime to eliminate coercion, which is the very nature of China's population programme. As Dr Aird says:

    How can they? Neither of these agencies has ever been able to monitor effectively what the Chinese programme is doing or to report on it honestly. Effective monitoring would require independent observation at the grass-roots level. It is not enough to ask questions of these agencies or of Chinese government officials and report their answers. They are all bureaucracies with an interest in putting a benign face on their undertakings. What has the DfID done—what CAN it do—to get past the self-serving reports of these agencies and find out what is actually happening in the UNFPA and IPPF projects in China? The first purpose of all such agencies is to continue and expand their programmes and the administrative empires that depend on the programmes for survival. Only good news will serve that purpose. But good news and honest reporting don't always coincide! Is DfID in a position to undertake an independent investigation of the projects without officials from these agencies or from the Chinese government looking over their shoulder and stage managing their enquiries?

  51.  The answer to Dr Aird's question is almost certainly no, when one considers that UNFPA and IPPF have a vested interest in retaining DfID's funding. DfID funding for UNFPA and IPPF is mostly unrestricted and in turn UNFPA and IPPF funding for SFPC and CFPA is also mostly unrestricted. DfID is effectively allowing the Chinese regime to use British taxpayers' funds for whatever it pleases, including coercion.

  52.  Furthermore, the FCO 2003 HR Report claims that " [t]he focus of UNFPA support is to improve the quality of medical care" is belied by UNFPA's own data which shows that infant and maternal death rates have gone up in several counties where UNFPA is operating. UNFPA data shows that from 1999 to 2000, in 5 of the 32 UNFPA counties in China where UNFPA is active (Longan, Wenchange, Zhenfeng, Pingba and Xiangyun), total infant deaths increased from 777 to 812. (Source: UNFPA, "Briefing Kit: US White House Mission," Infant Mortality Situation for 32 Project Counties, 13-25 May, 2002.) UNFPA data also shows that from 1999 to 2000, in 7 of the 32 UNFPA counties in China (Xuanzhou, Guichi, Jianou, Dongming, Mengzhou, Linwu and Sihui) total maternal deaths increased from 13 to 28. (Source: UNFPA, "Briefing Kit: US White House Mission," Maternal Mortality Situation for 32 Project Counties, 13-25 May, 2002.)

  53.  In 1998 Oxfam and Save the Children both withdrew their support for UNFPA's "Field manual for reproductive health" for use in refugee camps. Oxfam and Save the Children claimed that their concerns for minimal medical standards had been "brushed aside" at several meetings with UN bodies. ("The UN says it wants safe birth control for refugees—but risks killing the very women it aims to help", Melanie Phillips, The Observer, London, 5 April 1998.)


  54.  Forced abortion was condemned as a crime against humanity by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal. The FCO's webpage on human rights starts by quoting a speech FCO minister Bill Rammell in November last year, in which the Minister declares that "There is no such thing any more as a quarrel in a faraway country which is indifferent to our interests". Page&cid=1007029393564

  Yet it is clear from the FCO's 2003 HR Report that the issue of forced abortion in China has indeed been treated as a matter in "a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing". The FCO seems to have forgotten that forced abortion was condemned as a crime against humanity by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal.

  55.  In its November 2000 report on China, the FAC

    conclude[d] that the restrictions on reproductive rights in China are not in keeping with Article 23 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR], which give men and women the right to found a family.

  As the FCO 2003 HR Report states (p.36),

  There have been no signs of progress towards ratifying the ICCPR.

  ( )

  The FCO 2003 HR Report (p.37) also states that

    China stated at the UN Conference on Human Rights in April 2003 that international concern over human rights in China was "unimportant, meaningless and irrelevant".

  56.  In his foreword to the 2003 FCO HR Report, Secretary of State Jack Straw wrote:

    A concern for the victims of human rights abuses lies at the heart of the Government's foreign policy. I am determined that it should continue to do so....This report sets out how the Government is advancing the cause of human rights across the globe....We will continue to work with the international community to address such injustices.

  It is clear from the Report that Mr Straw is not living up to his words in relation to the one-child policy.


  57.  SPUC recommends that the FAC:

    —  criticises the FCO for rejecting the FAC's suggestion in its February 2002 Report that the one-child policy be included in the Human Rights Dialogue.

    —  insists the FCO provides a full explanation to the FAC of why it has decided not to include the one-child policy in the HR Dialogue, in particular why the fact that "[t]he Dialogue already covers a wide range of issues" precludes the addition of "arguably the greatest bioethical atrocity on the globe" (Wendy McElroy, Fox News Views, 24 September 2002).

    —  criticises the FCO for attempting to shift responsibility for the issue of the one-child policy to DfID.

    —  criticises the FCO for placing its trust in UNFPA and IPPF to make progress against coercion.

    —  criticises the FCO for failing to implement recommendation 28 of the FAC's November 2000 Report on China by not using strong language to condemn the one-child policy.

    —  recommends that the FCO to use stronger language than that in the FCO 2003 HR Report to condemn the one-child policy.

    —  recommends, in line with recommendation 31 of the FAC's November 2000 Report on China, that the FCO "toughen its stance in response to the deterioration in human rights standards which have occurred in China", specifically on the issue of the one-child policy.

Anthony Ozimic

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)

9 February 2004

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