6 May 2013

China's barbaric one-child policy

Ma Jian in The Guardian:

A man with a motorbike agreed to take me to meet a family who had been persecuted the previous year. "They live in a remote valley, far from the nearest village, so the local officials are unlikely to see us," he said as I climbed on behind him. He drove me through dark green hills, past brick shacks painted with half-defaced slogans, one of which read: "After the first child: insert an IUD; after the second: sterilise; after the third: kill, kill kill!" When we arrived at the house, Ah-Li was laying out shrivelled, salted vegetables to dry in the sun. She had to care for four children and her husband's elderly parents, and looked much older than her 30 years. When I asked her about the forced abortion she suffered, she flinched. "It crippled me," she said. "I couldn't stand up straight for weeks afterwards. I had to spend hundreds of yuan on painkillers."

one-child policy propaganda

"I heard you worked in a factory in the south for a few years, so you must have had some savings. Did the family-planning squad take the lot?" I looked down at her spindly neck and the duck droppings scattered over her concrete yard. The warm air smelled of singed feathers. I could hear shouting coming from the four children and the television inside her small house.

"Yes, the gods are always against me!" she sighed. "I tried to travel to the county town to lodge a complaint, but the police turned me back. If you write about my story on the internet, don't mention my surname." She rose to her feet and brushed the dung from her trousers. "I paid thousand-yuan fines for my second, third and fourth daughters, but the squad told me that those didn't count, and I'd have to pay another 10,000 yuan for each of them."

"Was the aborted baby a girl or a boy?" I asked, feeling uncomfortable questioning a stranger about such matters."I don't know," she answered. "When the squad turned up, I was cradling my youngest. The officers tore her from my arms, kicked me in the belly and forced me into the minibus. In the clinic, they gave me a shot in the arm. When I woke up two days later, the baby in my belly was gone. I didn't realise until a month afterwards that they'd sterilised me as well. Every woman in this county has been sterilised – apart from the ones who managed to escape. Now look what I've become: a useless, withered wreck." From behind her dark fringe she eyed me with a look of distrust and despair.

Whole story on The GuardianWikipedia