UN must condemn China 'one child' policy: lawmaker
March 7, 2011 / AFP
WASHINGTON — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon must step up public condemnation of China's "one-child" policy and investigate the alleged use of forced abortions to carry it out, a key US lawmaker said Monday.
"To fail to speak out against what is by far the worst gender-based violence in history would make a mockery of the UN's claim to promote women," Republican Representative Chris Smith said in an appeal to Ban.
Smith also urged Ban to direct special UN envoys for violence against women, torture, and trafficking in persons to travel to China to investigate the way the policy is applied and its effects on women and girls.
China, under a 1980 policy designed to control its population, permits most couples to have only one child, an approach critics charge is backed with forced sterilizations and abortions.
The lawmaker -- a long-time foe of abortion and a sharp critic of Beijing -- also complained that the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) was backing China's policy, which he described as "the most massive human rights violation in the world today" and said the agency must "cease and desist."
A US State Department report in 2002 found "no evidence that UNFPA has knowingly supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization" in China.
Asked about Smith's comments, UNFPA spokesman Abubakar Dungus replied that the agency "does not support the one child policy. It campaigns as mandated by UN member states to promote a voluntary approach to family planning."
"The UNFPA's engagement has been recognized as a force for good as it plays a catalytic role in promoting human rights in this field," he said.
Smith also criticized President Barack Obama for hosting a state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao, "who oversees the most heinous attack on women ever."
"We're calling on the administration to make a serious attempt, which it has not made heretofore, to raise this issue" with Chinese authorities, Smith told reporters at a press conference outside the US Capitol.
"Our hope is that the White House will take this issue up in a very serious fashion -- certainly they need to defund the UN Population Fund which is the cheerleader and enabler-in-chief of the last 30 years of this policy," he said.