WASHINGTON—At a Congressional hearing on Thursday, Chai Ling noted that single women in China are not allowed to give birth. The One-Child Policy has “prevented” more than 400 million lives since its start in 1980, and was supposed to end last September. This anniversary is a surprise for some.
“We must remember that the policy is One-Child-Per-Couple,” says Chai Ling, founder of All Girls Allowed. “No marriage certificate, no birth permit. No birth permit, no baby.”
Ling also shared a very personal testimony about her own abortion experience.“Not every unmarried pregnant woman in China is dragged to a clinic for a forced abortion,” she said. “But walking in yourself because you have no choice can be equally as painful.”
Ling pointed out that rampant abortion (with the majority of China’s women having more than one abortion) is not a cultural practice. Before the policy began, there were fewer than 5 million abortions a year in China. Today, there are at least 13 million annually. Many of these are coerced or forced: research shows that over 70 percent of women want two or more children.
Two victims also testified: Ping Liu, a victim of 5 forced abortions, and Yeqing Ji: a victim of one recent forced abortion.
Chai Ling's Testimony
Chairman Smith, Congressman Fortenberry and Members of the Committee, thank you for giving me an opportunity to testify about this massive problem in hope and determination that one day it will come to an end.
We are here to report and mourn the loss of 400+ million lives taken in China since 1980 under the China’s One-Child Policy. But I never realized until I was writing my memoir that 3 of those babies are mine.
The reason why the One Child Policy kills millions of infants and unborn children annually is because it is a “one-child per couple” policy. It is the “all other children must die” policy. That means most married couples are not allowed to have more than one child and of course, unmarried women in China are not allowed to have babies at all. There are 16 million forced and coerced abortions a year in China but when counting the number of abortion pills sold, possibly closer to 23 million). According to the Chinese government’s own statement, 70% of these women are unmarried. That means more than 10 million young women suffer this fate every year, up to 27 thousand every day, 19 every minute. And that is the poster of that young lady hiding her face in the IV.
The tragic equation for millions of unmarried women, especially those too young to wed is: “No marriage certificate, no birth permit. No birth permit, no baby.”
The first time I became pregnant, I was 18 years old, a sophomore at Peking University. I was terrified and deeply ashamed. All I could think was a scene I saw a young couple when I first arrived Peking University, was being expelled in front of us freshman for she was found out in love and pregnant. The thought of being kicked out of school, which represented life, future, jobs, and a position in society, was unthinkable.
My father, who was an army doctor himself, took me in secret to the neighboring city’s clinic to end the pregnancy. The surgery was performed on a cold operating table, with no anesthesia. It was extremely painful. We both took the bus back home without saying a word to each other. We never talked about this abortion or my second coerced abortion again for over two decades until a few days ago when he read this story in my book. In my book I tell at length how my forced abortion experience was a combination of the law requiring an abortion if you are not married and the pressure of the society, giving young women no choice.
The third time I was pregnant I was in graduate school, with my-soon-to-be-husband. But even if you are married you must abort unless you have a birth permit, and you cannot get married until you have a combined age of 48. This time I walked in with him to a clinic in Beijing, without help nor informing any of our parents. Only after that, we realized we could have tried to fake our age to and get a marriage certificate. We regret why we did not think of that earlier. We did get married shortly after. But the baby was gone. That is the way it works in China. Similarly in my life, I now see how it was all threaded together. Started by Deng Xiaoping who decided to order the One-Child Policy, in addition to all these forced abortions, the policy led universities to expel young couples who were in love and pregnant, and that led to my father and my boyfriend’s father taking me to end my pregnancies. And that led to the third time when I was pregnant, I knew where to go and what to do. It did not stop here, worst yet, by the fourth time, when I was pregnant, I was already escaped to Paris in 1990, the land of freedom. Alone and in a very bad place in my marriage, with advice from a Chinese couple who loved very much their own child, I did what I was taught to do: ended that pregnancy too.
When I came to America in 1990 to testify about China’s human rights abuses, Chairman Smith you asked me then whether I knew China’s forced abortion One Child Policy. I assumed the world knew and asked in return, “Doesn’t everybody know about it?” Even at that time, I did not make the connection of my experience having anything to do with that policy. It is an insidious policy causing the society to immediately demand an abortion for any woman without a birth permit, married or not. To refuse would be illegal but most unmarried women like me don’t even dare to ask and certainly don’t tell others about it but silently suffer in a country with the highest female suicide rate in the world, 500 woman a day every day.
Until December 2010, when I was speaking to an American teacher about his visit to China to teach about the development of pregnancies, I first saw the small but well-formed tiny babies at 8 weeks, 10 weeks, 12 weeks. Tears started stream down my face. It was at that moment, I realized four of my little babies were sent to the grinding tubes, and all turned into pink foam. Four little lives were snuffed out by a Government and a society that does not value life and does not think twice with more abortions per year. In the capital city of Beijing there are more abortions than live births to this very day according to reports by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).
As much as I thought I was a freedom fighter trying to bring freedom and save lives, I did not realize how much I was turned into the same sinful being as Chinese’s leaders like Deng Xiaoping and others who are enforcing the One-Child Policy today. And how deceived and blinded I was: even when I reached Paris, even though I was no longer under the threat of being thrown out of my school after I was already thrown out the country, even though I was married and no longer had to hide the pregnancy in shame, still, in the spirit of despair, I did what I thought to be the only choice: abort the pregnancy.
For by then I was long-trained to think and act as if abortion is the way of life. To be completely truthful about the situation, in hope to bring into the light what needs to change now and in the future: there was never any discussion that there might be another choice. There was not a movie like Juno playing in China teaching us that we could give the baby away. There was not one example like the American couple I met at my Harvard Business School section A, that when they were pregnant at college,they could take a year off, get married and come back to graduate and still have a great career. There was never this kind of freedom nor information about the full truth of abortion to teach us that we could have a choice to give these babies life. And that is why to this day China is where the majority of the world’s abortions take place every year.
Now I see how it is working. An idea called the “One Child Policy” was born to Deng Xiaoping, in 1978. Unchallenged and unstopped, it was carried out and created overnight an army of 400,000 paid family planning members who went out enforced the policy and dragged millions of women to the forced abortion tables. As the policy then mixed with China’s son-preference culture, these officials were helped by millions of parent volunteers and in-laws, who took their young unmarried daughters who are pregnant in shame and disgrace to the abortion clinics; then many these young people grew up to do the only thing they know to do when faced with an unwanted pregnancy: abort. The entire society commits crimes and sins, including those tried who to overcome the system. The society is filled with the consequences of these crimes and unrest: 37 million single men have become the driving factor of massive sex trafficking and child-bride trafficking. for those married, many are having wars between man and wife---a recent Chinese Government’s All Women Federation’s survey revealed this shocking statistic: 1/3 of China’s families suffers domestic abuse. What would happen to that one child they finally raise in this kind of environment, will that child learn how to love, give life and make peace?
What we must do now to end this massive killing of innocent babies and end the largest crime against humanity today?
It is in this reason I chose to support the bill HR 2121. Once passed, this bill would give the President of the United States freedom to deny entry to the US for any Chinese official involved in forcing abortions and sterilization on unwilling women in China, an act that would be a clear crime in this Country. But today these would-be criminals in the United States are given visas to come here and enjoy this great country. HR2121 would also apply to family members of these officials.
With over 400,000 people employed by the family planning committee of China, this is no small matter. Just as I shared a very personal story today, this bill would be very personal to leaders in China. 130,000 Chinese students studied in America last year, up 30 percent from the year before. Many of them come from government official’s families. It is as if the leaders somehow sense they have to deal with the coming of the inevitable day of consequences--Chinese officials love to send their wives and children to live in America.
HR 2121 would change all of that. It is likely they will oppose it and possibly even threaten retaliation. But how else would we be able to get the leaders’ attention and ask them to end the crimes they are committing? When each member of Congress signs this bill, you are sending a strong message to the leaders of China, enough is enough. You can’t inject a needle of deadly poison into the brain of a near full-term 8 month-old baby in the womb of its mother as shown on Al Jazeera television, and still get a visa to come to Disney World as if nothing happened. Murder is murder and it need to be stopped.
I am not here to testify against you, the leaders of China, as Chai Ling, the human rights fighter; but as an equal sinner with you, to share with you the truth and to bring God’s love to you. For God so loved China, China’s leaders, China’s people and HIS daughters in China so much, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”(John 3:16)
I can tell you with personal peace and confidence that the same spiritual transformation and redemption that set me to freedom also awaits you if you put your faith in Christ Jesus. You will see clearly that you don’t need to act like Deng Xiaoping in 1989,
feeling that he had no other choice. You can still turn and end this policy, and can start reshaping the culture of China to value all women, their choice, and children’s lives.
Freedom is awaiting you as it is awaiting 1.3 billion other Chinese men and women under your watch. Though evil blinded me and blinded all of us to do evil, God wants us to see, to be set free, and to experience his love and receive eternal life. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. Through HIM, all things are possible.
For those who believe, the following message in Isaiah 61 is for you. Be strong and be courageous, go forth to bring the hope and the good news.
New International Version (NIV)
The Year of the Lord’s Favor
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
All Girls Allowed (http://www.allgirlsallowed.org) was founded by Chai Ling in 2010 with a mission to display the love of Jesus by restoring life, value and dignity to girls and mothers in China and to reveal the injustice of the One-Child Policy. “In Jesus’ Name, Simply Love Her.”