|Home > East Asia >
Bush cuts funding headed to China
Cancels $34 million in "family planning" money over China's forced abortions
China Support Network
July 17, 2004 (CSN) -- The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) oversees family-planning programs around the world. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says the United States is the world's largest donor to health programs for women and children, to the tune of $1.8 billion this year, of which over $400 million is for reproductive health and family planning.
However, the bulk of that money will go through the Agency for International Development, not the UNFPA, which is on the hot seat for the role that it plays in China. There, the CCP (communist) led government has a "one-child policy," and may order or force abortions and sterilizations for couples that do not comply. It is thought that up to 10 million forced abortions are performed yearly in China, and that the abortions are of girls, disproportionately more so than boys.
On Friday, the Bush administration -- in a message to Congress and at the State Department -- announced that it will withhold a $34 million payment from the UNFPA, once again over the issue of China's forced abortions. The administration did the same in 2002 and 2003. President Bush is known to be pro-life, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America accused the White House of pandering to pro-life groups in the course of election-year politics.
"Horsefeathers," said John Kusumi at the China Support Network. "This is China-specific, where they have a true human rights problem in China, and there is a vast and enormous difference between the abortion issue on one hand, versus forced abortion on the other hand. When it is forced, one could hope that there is no difference whether you are pro-choice or pro-life. We should all oppose the use of force against the unwilling.
"The China Support Network welcomes this decision. 'Cuts funding headed to China' is a great headline. I hope the White House will keep sending us headlines that say that. We should cut all American funds, including private sector funds, headed to China. We should not be fueling a nuclear armed, communist superpower. Why send money to communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs? In the first place, to do so is counterproductive; self-defeating; siphons the U.S. economy; backs human rights abuses; counters American values; and, makes politicians appear duplicitous and insincere when they talk about freedom," Kusumi concluded.
Also on Friday, the China Information Center and Laogai Research Foundation (two organizations that are pro-freedom, and pro-human rights for China) jointly released a statement welcoming the White House decision. Their statement is as follows--
President Bush announced today that he would block all $34 million of congressionally-approved funding for the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) for the fiscal year 2004, the third year in a row funding has been withheld. We commend the President's decision and decry the UNFPA's cooperation with China. A portion of these funds would have been directed toward UNFPA programs in China, where women are not allowed to freely give birth and are subjected to forced abortion and sterilization. The one-child policy is the most pervasive source of human rights violations in China today. It should not be sponsored, and cannot be encouraged, by the United States.
The UNFPA argues that it must cooperate with the Chinese government in order to help improve the reproductive health of Chinese women and children. However, China's population control policy is a violation of basic human rights and the rights of individuals. It is also a violation of UN principles. As published, China's newly promulgated State Family Planning Law is a violation of reproductive rights as outlined by the UN Charter, UNDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and the Cairo Declaration, to all of which China is a signatory.
Since 1998, the UNFPA has run "model family planning programs" in 32 Chinese counties (there are over 3,000 counties in China). The UNFPA claims that there are no forced abortions, no targets for sterilizations, and no quotas for childbirths in these counties. It also notes a "shift from an administrative family-planning approach to an integrated, client-oriented reproductive health approach in the project counties". However, there have been reports that contradict these claims and cite continued persecution in UNFPA counties.
Regardless of what is happening in these 32 counties, we oppose the UNFPA's cooperation with the Chinese government, as China's population control policy is a violation of basic human rights and the rights of individuals. It is also a violation of UN principles. Also, the 32 counties the UNFPA operates in constitute only about one percent of China's more than 3,000 counties. There is no major change taking place in China, and these 32 counties are being used as a showcase by the Chinese government. By cooperating with the Chinese government, the UNFPA is allowing itself to be used as a model example, when what is being carried out throughout the rest of China is a draconian policy infringing upon the rights of the individual.
We must not turn a blind eye to the lack of reproductive freedom in China. We hope the denial of congressional funding for the UNFPA may encourage the U.N. to stand by its stated principles and to tell the Chinese government to end its coercive family-planning policies.
|© Copyright 2002-2007 AFAR|