Founder of the Population Research Institute calls Chen Guangcheng 'China's conscience'
By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News
The plight of the blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who recently sought asylum in the United States Embassy in China, has brought to the fore the horrors of China’s one-child policy.
Speaking at the annual Rose Dinner, May 10 in conjunction with the National March for Life, Stephen Mosher, founder of the Population Research Institute, called Chen the “Sakharov” of China, and “China’s conscience” for documenting the forcible abortions and subsequent sterilization of tens of thousands of Chinese women. Sakharov was the Soviet dissident who brought worldwide attention to the oppression of the Communist regime. Chen launched an unprecedented class-action lawsuit against the Chinese government on behalf of the women.
But Chen’s future and that of his relatives remain uncertain after he escaped house arrest on Apr. 22, managed to flee to the U.S. embassy, and then was persuaded to leave its confines.
The Obama administration, supportive of the one-child policy and international population control measures, failed so far to give Chen the help he needed. “[Chen] should have been given political asylum,” Mosher said.
Instead, Chen was talked into leaving after being told his family would be held hostage and his relatives beaten. His future remains uncertain, because the Obama government is “the most radically pro-abortion and pro-population control we’ve ever had,” Mosher said.
Chen’s plight “struck me at my very core,” Mosher said. He had been living in the far south of China in 1980 when the one-child policy was first imposed. Mosher saw women being arrested “for the crime of being pregnant,” and witnessed some receiving lethal injections into their wombs to kill the unborn child. He also saw forced caesarian-section abortions that removed nearly full- term babies.
Mosher was the first American to alert the world of horrors of the one-child policy. Chinese authorities arrested him and he spent three days in jail. But his U.S. passport was a “get out of jail free” card that Chen did not have. In 2004-5, Chen began exposing the policy in the northern province of Shandung when he exposed the arrest and forced abortion of thousands of pregnant women in his county alone, Mosher said.
Chen spent four years in prison, and afterwards was put under house arrest, from which he recently escaped. His house had been surrounded by 100 security guards and many surveillance cameras. Chen managed to escape, slip through rice paddies, and with the help of friends and safe houses, make his way to the embassy.
The Chinese government was embarrassed when this well-known dissident escaped, Mosher said. Chen is well-known both outside and inside China. “The one-child policy resonates in every Chinese heart,” he said. “Every Chinese person is missing a brother, a sister, a mother because of the one-child policy.”
Chen’s fight against it has made him an iconic figure in China, he said, but for the Obama administration “he is not a sympathetic figure.”
The one-child policy has resulted in the abortion of 400 million Chinese babies. A Chinese official once boasted of this figure, noting it was higher than the 312 million population of the United States, Mosher said. Since sex selection abortion is rampant, most of the 400 million aborted babies were female.
The population has become skewed, leaving millions of men unable to find wives, he said. The rates of rape, prostitution and gang activity have risen as a consequence.
While every abortion is a human tragedy, China’s obliteration of 400 million new Chinese people is already having an impact on China’s economic performance, Mosher said. The work ethic of the Chinese has contributed to a 10 per cent a year economic growth, but now the country is experiencing labor shortages. “Many factories cannot recruit employees,” he said.
“Most handicapped children are not allowed to live,” Mosher said, remarking on the eugenics policy that stresses all Chinese children must be “quality children.” Children with cleft palates or other birth defects, even something as harmless as a birthmark on the face, are “killed at birth by lethal injection,” he said, noting how remarkable that Chen managed to live despite his blindness.
“When I went to China I was pro-choice,” Mosher said. “You cannot witness an abortion, especially a third trimester abortion without understanding what really happens: a dead baby and a wounded mother.”
Many mothers in China take their own lives, he said, noting 300,000 Chinese women kill themselves every year.
Mosher’s Population Research Institute debunks the myths that increased population is a threat to human and environmental well-being. When the world’s population reached seven billion, the Institute celebrated, Mosher said. “By nearly every measure of well-being, life on this planet is getting dramatically better.” He listed health care outcomes, nutrition and other indicators. The world produces enough food for everyone to eat 3500 calories a day, he said.
But many popular ideologies paint population growth as destructive to the environment. Higher populations and economic development better protect the environment, Mosher stressed. Poor people may be forced to cut down the last tree for fuel and pollute their water supply, but economic development permits them to build sewage treatment plants, aggregate in cities that allow large swatches of land to return to its natural state. “People are the answer to environmental problems,” he said.
“There is plenty of room on God’s green earth for all of us,” he said. “The world’s resources are positioned to be unlocked by our God-given intelligence.”
He noted how silica, found in sand on the beach, has become the basis for silicon chips that have speeded the computer-based communications revolution. “Our population size cannot be used as justification for sterilization or abortion,” he said.