August 27, 2005


Who Controls the Family?: Blind Activist Leads Peasants in Legal Challenge To Abuses of China's Population-Growth Policy (Philip P. Pan, August 27, 2005, Washington Post0

A crowd of disheveled villagers was waiting when Chen Guangcheng stepped out of the car. More women than men among them, a mix of desperation and hope on their faces, they ushered him along a dirt path and into a nearby house. Then, one after another, they told him about the city's campaign against "unplanned births."

Since March, the farmers said, local authorities had been raiding the homes of families with two children and demanding at least one parent be sterilized. Women pregnant with a third child were forced to have abortions. And if people tried to hide, the officials jailed their relatives and neighbors, beating them and holding them hostage until the fugitives turned themselves in.

Chen, 34, a slender man wearing dark sunglasses, held out a digital voice recorder and listened intently. Blind since birth, he couldn't see the tears of the women forced to terminate pregnancies seven or eight months along, or the blank stares of the men who said they submitted to vasectomies to save family members from torture. But he could hear the pain and anger in their voices and said he was determined to do something about it.

For weeks, Chen has been collecting testimony about the population-control abuses in this city of 10 million, located about 400 miles southeast of Beijing, beginning in his own village in the rural suburbs, then traveling from one community to the next. Now he is preparing an unlikely challenge to the crackdown: a class-action lawsuit.

"What these officials are doing is completely illegal," Chen said. "They've committed widespread violations of citizens' basic rights, and they should be held responsible."

It might appear a quixotic crusade -- a blind peasant with limited legal training taking on the Communist Party's one-child policy, which has long been considered a pillar of the nation's economic development strategy and off-limits to public debate. But the Linyi case marks a legal milestone in challenging the coercive measures used for decades to limit population growth in China. [...]

On a recent visit to Maxiagou village, in another rural part of Linyi, he interviewed Feng Zhongxia, 36. She recounted that she was seven months pregnant and on the run when she learned that local officials had detained more than a dozen of her relatives and wouldn't release them unless she returned for an abortion.

"My aunts, uncles, cousins, my pregnant younger sister, my in-laws, they were all taken to the family planning office," she said. "Many of them didn't get food or water, and all of them were severely beaten." Some of the relatives were allowed to call her, and they pleaded with her to come home.

Feng called the family planning officials. "They told me they would peel the skin off my relatives and I would only see their corpses if I didn't come back," she said. The next day, she turned herself in. A doctor examined her, then stuck a needle into her uterus. About 24 hours later, she delivered the dead fetus. "It was a small life," she said quietly.

Afterward, she said, the family planning workers insisted on sterilizing her, too. "I'm a human being. How can they treat me like that?" she asked.

Nothing quite like a government having to defend its anti-humanity.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 27, 2005 11:25 PM

Somehow I don't think they'll have to.

Of course, none of this matters because we learned yesterday that there is no such thing as morality.

Posted by: Randall Voth at August 28, 2005 3:38 AM

Since a forced abortion is as much "anti-choice" as a abn on abortions, one would expect NARAL and Planned Parenthood to condemn the one-child policy and the atrocities detailed in this article. Take it away . . .


[ambient wind noise]

Gee, they don't seem to be bothered by this. Why is that? he wonders aloud.

Posted by: Mike Morley at August 28, 2005 7:57 AM

Teacher! Teacher! I know! I know!

They're despicable hypocrites just like the rest of the left's glorious rainbow of moonbats.

Posted by: erp at August 28, 2005 8:12 AM

Is it any wonder Christianity is booming in China? This story reminds one of ancient Rome and the persecutions of the early Church (I have no idea if anyone in this story has even heard of Christianity, but the stated cognizance of the immorality of the gov't is fertile ground...). Haven't the ChiComs learned from Europe that if you want to end religion you need to fully satisfy the material needs of the people to make them forget their spiritual needs?

Posted by: b at August 28, 2005 7:21 PM

Do Europeans seem satisfied with their lives to you?

Posted by: oj at August 28, 2005 7:25 PM

oj: Not as a whole, certainly. But they obviously are willing to take material fulfillment over spiritual fulfillment:

People: "I don't feel happy."

Gov't: "Here's some free stuff."

People: "OK then."

Posted by: b at August 29, 2005 11:48 AM

Yes, they'd as soon be fat as happy.

Posted by: oj at August 29, 2005 11:54 AM


Posted by: The Other Brother at September 3, 2005 3:05 PM


Posted by: The Other Brother at September 3, 2005 3:14 PM