This week the world was shocked to see images of a newborn infant trapped in a sewer pipe, allegedly flushed away by his own mother. The little boy survived this heinous act and is recovering in the hospital as the incident is being discussed internationally. How could a mother do this to her child? What kind of monster is she?
I have the same questions. The more I look at the culture of China and the policies governing reproduction, the more blame I place on China for incidents like this.
It is well-known that China has a one-child policy for it’s citizens. But many people are not aware of how the country implements this policy and how far they are willing to go to punish violations. Understanding the culture of fear and intimidation that China has created for its citizens not only creates compassion for what this mother has done but can re-energize the pressure the global community should be placing on China to stop their multiple violations of human rights against their people and particularly against their women.
Chinese families who are subject to the one-child policy face severe fines, among other penalties, if they conceive a second child or even if they conceive a first child without the proper permits.
These fines can be as high as three times their annual salary. If they are unable to pay the fine, they may be subject to a forced abortion and subsequently forced sterilization. There are many stories of women who were attacked in their homes and placed in detention for failure to pay a fine. These women were then subjected to forced abortions as late as nine months into their pregnancy. I ask you, how is this any different from killing a newborn baby? A baby in the womb at nine months is absolutely viable and is indistinguishable from a baby who is two days out of the womb. And yet, if China murders the child to conform to their policy, this is acceptable. If a mother murders the child, this is murder.
Which is worse?
A government who kills a baby?
Or a young mom?
To me, both are murder. And yet, we have a government who is implementing these policies with no global outrage. We have a mother, at the very young age of 22, who fears for her future and follows in the footsteps of her government. What she has done is unspeakable. But these are the options that have been demonstrated to her and the culture that has been nurtured by a ruthless government.
If this young woman were to keep the child, she would never be able to have another child. Because she did not file for a permit to get pregnant, she would have to pay a hefty fine. She would never be able to have a baby with her future husband, as per the rules of China. These are tremendous sacrifices. Because this is a boy, he may be less desirable as an adoptee. Boys carry on the family name. What man would want an unrelated boy to carry on his name? What man would want to marry a woman who already has a boy unrelated to him, knowing that he can never have a child with her and knowing that he cannot hope to have a biological boy to carry on his name? China’s policies placed her in an impossible situation.
China puts severe limitations on adoptions.
One must be of a certain age, may not have certain medical conditions, must have a certain income, must be under a certain weight, cannot be blind in one eye, and the list goes on. Then there are the issues surrounding how to get a child placed for adoption. Children eligible for adoption must be: orphaned, abandoned or have parents unable to care for them due to unusual circumstances. Think about what that means. That means that if you have a second child in violation of the one child policy, you cannot just place the child. If you are able to care for the child, that is not a sufficient reason to place the baby for adoption. The child will not be eligible. You are essentially forced to abandon the child. Some parents sell their child in an effort to collect the money necessary to pay the required fines. If the fines are not paid, they face losing their homes, jobs or other financial hardship.
China’s attempts to control procreation over the past 30 years has created a form of gendercide that is
The biologically natural sex ratio of males to females at birth is 105:100. But China has an overall sex ratio of 120:100 at birth that can go as high as 200:100 in some locations. This is not an accident. Chinese tradition dictates that boys are preferable to girls for many reasons, including the financial care of the aging parents and preservation of the family name. There are approximately 35,000 abortions every day in China. Many of these are prenatal sex selection. When a family may only have one child, and they can select in advance the gender of that child, they are aborting the undesired gender, most often females.
We know that infanticide has risen significantly since the one child policy was put in place.
A mother must have an official permit to legally give birth to a child. If she is in violation of the one child policy, she may not obtain the permit. This means that the child cannot be registered and receive any government benefits, including schooling. This also means if the family is caught with this illegal child, they will be punished. If a family cannot afford an abortion, they wait until after birth to dispose of the child. Remember, if you get caught with this illegal child, you will be fined. There is no such thing as a voluntary placement for adoption.
Put yourself in this young mother’s shoes for just a moment and think about what it feels like to live in a country like this.
A country that will murder your baby even nine months into your pregnancy if you can’t afford to pay a fine equaling three times your annual salary. A country that will not allow you to ever have another child again. A country that has no problem forcing you to tie your tubes if you violate their policy so you can’t even leave their jurisdiction and procreate freely. A country where being a single mother is a life sentence because no one will ever want to marry you. You are now useless.
Yes, this mother committed a heinous act. It was vicious and cruel. At the same time, she lives under a vicious and cruel regime that has no problem treating her body and her children with the same disregard as she treated her newborn. They just get away with it because nobody notices and nobody is stopping them. They get away with it because they are government officials enforcing government policies. They can murder a baby and violate a woman’s body without repercussions. Is it any wonder that their citizens would act in the same manner? That they would get desperate or start to think of infants as disposable?
Instead of focusing our rage on the heinous act of this mother, we should focus on the multiple and decades-long violations of human rights committed by China that are creating the conditions for these acts to occur. It’s time the free world stood up and took a stand. Will you?
Check out these links to help stop gendercide worldwide: