China’s Coercive One-Child Policy and UNFPA
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has a record of supporting China’s coercive one child policy.
House: On May 31, 2011, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) introduced a bill entitled, To prohibit funding to the United Nations Population Fund (H.R. 2059). The measure had 107 co-sponsors. The bill stated: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of State may not make a contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).”
Committee: On October 5, 2011, the Committee on Foreign Affairs (Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL, Chairman) held a markup hearing on H.R. 2059. After rejecting ten hostile amendments, the committee approved H.R. 2059, 23-yes, 17-no, and ordered the bill to be reported to the House. Addressing the committee, Chairman Ros-Lehtinen argued that the UNFPA “not only supports China’s coercive ‘One Child’ policy, but commends it as a ‘model’ for population programs across the globe.” Because the Obama Administration fails to enforce the Kemp-Kasten Amendment as it applies to the UNFPA, it is necessary for Congress to take action “to prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from continuing to benefit UNFPA, in contravention of U.S. law.” The Chairman also noted that the UNFPA did not need U.S. funding, reportedly having reserves of 500 million dollars.
Following the committee action, Rep. Ellmers stated that “this important bill will now be granted the opportunity to have a full vote in the House and I urge my colleagues to vote for its passage."
Floor: On January 17, 2012, the Committee reported H. R. 2059 to the House, and the bill was placed on the House calendar. For House Report 112-361, see: nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/CmteRpt112_361.pdf. In the section on background and purpose of the bill, the Committee concluded: “For more than 30 years, UNFPA has been collaborating with, defending, and funding China’s brutal and inhumane population control policy. Until it decisively ends that cooperation, it must not receive any funding or legitimacy from U.S. taxpayers.”
At the end of the year, H.R. 2059 was still pending on the House calendar.
Chen Guangcheng: Chen Guangcheng is a 41-year-old blind self-taught lawyer who advocates for human rights in China. Through legal work that began in 1996, Chen became a critic of China’s coercive one-child policy. Working with a team of human rights lawyers, Chen exposed 130,000 cases of forced abortions and forced sterilizations in the Linyi district of Shandong province As a result of these activities, he was placed under house arrest in September 2005, was convicted on trumped-up charges, and completed a four year and three month prison sentence on September 9, 2010. Thereafter, he was extralegally confined to his home in rural Dongshigu village in Shandong Province.
On the night of April 22, 2012, Chen escaped from the house arrest and with the help of supporters made his way to Beijing where he was given protection at the U. S. Embassy. On May 2, 2012, after an agreement with the Chinese government, U.S. officials escorted Chen to a hospital where he was reunited with family members as he awaited medical treatment for injuries suffered during his escape. Immediately doubts arose whether China would keep to its agreement. Chen began expressing the desire for a trip to the U.S. for a time of rest.
A deal was reached for Chen and his immediate family to travel to the U.S. On May 19, 2012, Chen, his wife and two children, arrived in New York, where Chen is pursuing legal studies. Deep concern continues to be expressed about the welfare and safety of Chen’s extended family, colleagues, and those who assisted him. At the news of Chen’s travel to the U.S., Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, stated, “Congress will remain vigilant on behalf of Mr. Chen’s relatives and fellow activists.”
At a May 15, 2012 hearing, “Chen Guangcheng: His Case, Cause, Family, and Those Who Are Helping Him,” before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Chairman Chris Smith (R-NJ) stated: “Chen Guancheng is among the bravest defenders of women’s rights in the world. . . . The sheer magnitude of this exploitation of women has been largely overlooked and trivialized by many—and even enabled. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has for over thirty years supported, defended, and whitewashed the crimes against women and children Chen struggled to expose.” Five witnesses provided riveting testimony on Chen, his supporters, and the operation of the one-child policy, including the statement by Ms. Mei Shunping who underwent five forced abortions. See: foreignaffairs.house.gov/press_display.asp?id=2355.
Other earlier Congressional actions include:
- During July 21, 2011 markup by the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2012 (H.R. 2583), Rep. Chris Smith sponsored an amendment urging action on behalf of Chen Guangcheng and other human rights activists in China. The amendment was added to the bill as Section 1153. H.R. 2583 has been placed on the House calendar. See: nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/HR2583.pdf.
- On November 1, 2011, Rep. Chris Smith, Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China held an emergency hearing, “Examination into the Abuse and Extralegal Detention of Legal Advocate Chen Guangcheng and His Family.” See: chrissmith.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=267194.
- On April 30, 2012, Rep. Chris Smith issued a statement on Chen Guangcheng following his escape from house arrest. See: chrissmith.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=293377.
- On May 3, 2012, Rep. Chris Smith held a hearing by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Various witnesses expressed concern about the safety of Chen, his family and those who helped him. During the course of the hearing Chen was contacted by phone from his hospital room. See: chrissmith.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=293929.