Another Perspective

Good for China, Good for the World?

Copenhagen mainstreams population control.

By 12.18.09

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Last month, the People's Republic of China celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of its brutal and inhumane one-child policy. Human rights groups have documented the widespread abuses of forced abortions and sterilizations, and in several provinces authorities have even been known to monitor women's menstrual cycles and contraceptive use.

Yet, as the Copenhagen conference on climate change has captured much of the world's attention these last few weeks, we have heard increasing and increasingly troubling calls for Chinese-style population control measures to be adopted by the rest of the world.

In fact, human rights groups and scholars have been calling attention to the widespread suffering of Chinese women for at least two decades. Despite such revelations, the Obama administration asked for $50 million to fund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the organization whose cooperation in this monstrous policy earned its defunding by the Bush administration. Last weekend's massive omnibus spending bill actually added an additional $5 million for the UNFPA, for a total of $55 million, and another $648.5 million for international "family planning" programs.

Even more incredibly, Zhao Baige, vice-minister of China's National Population and Family Planning Commission, was warmly received in Copenhagen when she claimed that her nation's population control program had resulted in 400 million fewer births.

Read that again. Four hundred million human beings are not alive today because of the aggressive abortion and contraception regime in the world's most populous country. That is almost 25% more than the entire population of the United States!

The impact of this draconian program is felt far beyond the violence inflicted on millions of individual women. It is also grossly deforming China's population pyramid, with increasingly drastic results.

In 1970, the average Chinese person was only 19.7 years old. In just forty years, the average age of the Chinese population has nearly doubled to its current 34 years. This trend will continue to accelerate, and, by the year 2050, the average Chinese person will be 51 years old.

Currently, every 100 people of working age in China support thirteen retired people. By 2050, the same 100 workers will be supporting 46 retirees. More than fifteen percent of the Chinese population is aged 60 or older now, and the government is already defaulting on pension payments and struggling to keep up with medical coverage for the elderly, causing protests by retirees across the country over the past several years. The Chinese economy is also beginning to falter due to a shortage of workers, and many factories cannot fill the jobs they need to continue functioning.

As always, the children will bear the consequences of their government's bad decisions.  Because each couple is only allowed one child, in many cases that child may eventually have to support six elderly people -- two parents and two sets of grandparents.

Significantly, hundreds of Chinese schools are closing annually, because the number of babies born in the country has declined more than 30 percent over the past two decades. In response to the growing number of elderly, savvy entrepreneurs are converting these schools into old people's homes.

The demographic problem is exacerbated by the fact that, since 1985, nearly fifty million more girls than boys have been aborted before birth and murdered shortly after birth due to the propensity of the Chinese, like the people of many developing countries, to value boys more. This has led to a huge excess of unmarried men, which in turn has caused a huge upswing in what the Chinese delicately call "hooliganism."

Many people are utterly blind to both the inhumane and coercive nature of the Chinese population control program and its dreadful and worsening demographic effects. Despite the fact that the Chinese themselves are acutely aware of its problems, they are recommending that their policies be exported to the rest of the world in order to mitigate "climate change."

Earlier this month, Diane Francis, writing for Canada's leading newspaper the National Post, asserted that "The whole world needs to adopt China's one-child policy.… A planetary law, such as China's one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days."

Francis is grossly exaggerating her numbers of course, as most population control advocates are in the habit of doing. Her hypocrisy -- she has one more child than she proposes the rest of the world be allowed to have -- is also a common trait of those who, if left unchallenged, would control every aspect of people's lives.

That such views are now commonplace among the elites meeting in Copenhagen should trouble us greatly. These Controllers ignore unprecedented and troubling demographic trends in their relentless and thoughtless drive to winnow out the most helpless of human beings for the supposed benefit of the rest of us. This "benefit" is to take the form of more sustainable population levels, the failure of which to achieve will surely have disastrous consequences for the world and its inhabitants. And when the science that is supposed to demonstrate the certainty of this inevitable environmental and human catastrophe is called into question, as it has been with the recent "Climategate" scandal, the Controllers only shout louder about the need to do something!

We now know what this "something" is: both economically debilitating transfers of wealth from functioning economies to dysfunctional ones, and finding ways to eliminate as many inconvenient children -- that is, other people's children -- as possible.

For decades, many have wondered why these elites have been reticent regarding programs we thought they would never tolerate in North America and Europe. Some have even been called racists for supporting the elimination of millions of Asian and African babies while demanding "reproductive freedom" for white women.

It is not that they are racist. That is, they do not just hate people of color -- they may actually hate humanity itself.

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About the Author

Brian Clowes is director of research at Human Life International.