Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

View family planning in a balanced way [Global Times]


Op-ed from the Global Times in response to the tragic forced abortion that sparked nationwide attention on a policy that needs rethinking and honest management despite the arguable pragmatic resource constraint. In terms of public diplomacy, it may have been doing well outside its walls but within them, the social order seems be taking a huge all round beating. And chances are this forced abortion issue will get amplified as this was the very cause blind activist Chen Guangcheng championed.

It is easy to see China has meager resources per capita. The life of Western developed countries is appealing, but it is impossible to copy completely here. A huge population and limited resources means China needs more sense of planning in its development path. This is a reality we cannot evade. 

And from elsewhere.

Forced Abortion Spurs Settlement (Wall Street Journal, July 11 2012)

BEIJING—The family of a Chinese woman whose forced late-term abortion last month rekindled a bitter nationwide debate over the country’s one-child policy agreed to accept more than $11,000 in compensation from the government as part of an out-of-court settlement.

China forced abortion family agree to settlement (Telegraph UK, July 11 2012)

Feng Jianmei’s husband, Deng Jiyuan, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the family accepted the settlement of 70,600 yuan (£7,100) because they wanted to return to a normal life. Feng was forced to abort her baby seven months into her pregnancy because she did not have 40,000 yuan to pay the fine for having a second child. The June incident caused a public uproar and renewed criticism against China’s tough family planning rules.

Chinese Villager Caught in US Abortion Debate (Huffington Post, July 17 2012)
When Chinese writer Zhao Chu saw pictures of Feng Jianmei lying dazed beside the bloody body of her seven month-old fetus earlier this month, he took to his microblog to express his horror, evoking the unheard “tears and cries” of Feng and other victims of forced abortions. Countless others did the same, as the graphic images provoked a national outrage in China that has spread around the world. Remarkably, Feng’s story has also been adopted in the United States as a battle cry — by both sides of the abortion debate.

– – –

View family planning in a balanced way
Source – Global Times, published July 13, 2012

The forced abortion scandal in Ankang, Shaanxi Province was brought to a conclusion when Feng Jianmei, the woman who had her seven-month pregnancy forcefully terminated, was awarded 70,600 yuan ($11,075) in compensation Tuesday.

Feng’s experience prompted a nationwide debate on grass-roots human rights protection and the implementation of the family planning policy.

The forced late-stage abortion was, first of all, unacceptable. Grass-roots family planning commissions all over the country must learn this lesson.

The enforcement of the one-child policy should evolve at a time when the public has higher demands of human rights standards. It needs to seek a population-control method with a minimum social price. Forceful approaches will have to be abandoned.

But the necessity of population-control policy should not be negated by the past mistakes made in implementing it. The policy was based on the deliberations of several generations of demographers.

Whether the family-planning policy needs adjustment and how to realize it is a matter that is currently undergoing intense debate.

However, how to conduct the adjustment has to be based on national-level research and public opinion consultation. It cannot be decided by a few opinion leaders and media.

Criticism of forced abortion, while justified, should not turn into encouragement of violations of the population control policy, which will create additional obstacles for grass-roots family planning implementation.

Admittedly, the one-child policy is at odds with people’s freedom of choice. Ideally, a family should be able to have as many children as it desires. That freedom is now limited.

But this has to be considered against China’s massive population. Controlling its numbers is aimed at creating conditions for better human rights so that the current and future generations can have decent lives. In general, it is aimed at improving human rights, not the opposite.

It is easy to see China has meager resources per capita. The life of Western developed countries is appealing, but it is impossible to copy completely here. A huge population and limited resources means China needs more sense of planning in its development path. This is a reality we cannot evade.

In the past, individual rights were repeatedly sacrificed for the collective interest. Now the emphasis on individual rights often goes to extremes, putting the public’s interests behind.

Forced abortions must be forbidden, but unlimited child birth shouldn’t be encouraged. Both are crucial to this country.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Environment, global times, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, Mapping Feelings, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Chinese Identity, ,

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