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In this 2005 photo provided by Joan Lebold Cohen, Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng, left, and his wife, Yuan Weijing, hold their son in Shandong province, China. (AP Photo/Joan Lebold Cohen) In this 2005 photo provided by Joan Lebold Cohen, Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng, left, and his wife, Yuan Weijing, hold their son in Shandong province, China. (AP Photo/Joan Lebold Cohen)  

Blind Chinese dissident’s crime: Challenging China’s one-child policy

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Christopher Bedford
Managing Editor

Chen Guangcheng — the blind, and now famous, Chinese dissident — garnered global attention last week when he escaped to the U.S. embassy and set off an international diplomatic firestorm. But the matter he fought for, and which brought the full might of his government down on him, has gone relatively unnoticed: the brutality of China’s one-child policy.

A 2005 report written by Chinese human right activist and professor Teng Biao featured Guangcheng’s research, which uncovered 130,000 cases of forced sterilizations and forced abortions in the Linyi County of the Shanghai Province in 2005. The report, released just before Guangcheng’s four-year imprisonment and detention, documents graphic examples of nighttime raids, murder, torture and intimidation.

Because of his focus on China’s one-child policy, Guangcheng earned himself and his family the special ire of the Communist government authorities, Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, told The Daily Caller. (RELATED: Chinese dissident: US official said wife would be killed)

While protesting many issues — such as religious persecution, censorship and corruption — attracts scrutiny and punishment in China, the one-child policy, Littlejohn said, may top the list.

“In my opinion,” Littlejohn told TheDC, “the reason that the full weight of the Chinese Communist Party is coming down on Chen is because he has dared to fight back against the one-child policy — which is probably the most central policy of the Chinese Communist Party.”

While experts have pointed out that the policy is leading to an unsustainably aging population and civil unrest, Beijing clings ferociously to the one-child rule, Littlejohn said, because “it is the glue that’s holding the government in power.” (RELATED: Global risk consultant: World is changing but ‘absolutely foolish’ to bet against the US)

“The institution of coercion required to maintain the one-child policy can be turned to put down any sort of democracy, so it’s maintained because of the infrastructure,” Littlejohn told TheDC. “Secondly, the one-child policy has maintained a system of paid informants — of neighbors, friends, coworkers, people just walking down the street — who may notice you look bigger. And what having these paid informants does is it tears apart the natural sort of affection, loyalty and trust in Chinese society. If people don’t know who they can trust, they can’t organize for democracy.”

In 14 notes in the report, Guangcheng specifically referenced, among other brutalities, the kidnapping and two-day beating of a 59-year-old man whose daughter was not home when a sterilization squad came at 6 a.m.; a twenty-day campaign of nighttime forced-sterilization raids; the forced abortion and sterilization of a seven-month pregnant woman and the detention of 22 of her relatives because of “implication”; a “woman kidnapped and tortured for 30 days because her brother” in another city “had an ‘extra child’”; “villagers detained, tortured and required to pay ‘tuition’ in [a] Linyi ‘Family Planning Learning Class’”; and birth quotas resulting in the forced sterilization of “12 percent of the total population.”

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