Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Thousands of Chinese Peasants Riot over Brutal Birth Control Campaign

Posted by radiofreechina on May 22, 2007

“The one child policy will have to end sooner or later because it has been a disaster for China,” says Mosher

By Peter J. Smith

HONG KONG, May 22, 2007 ( – Villagers in southwest China erupted into violence after enduring two intense months of ruinous fines, mandated health checks for women followed by coerced abortions and sterilisations, confiscation of property and destruction of their homes for violating the one-child policy.

The past four days have seen massive unrest in the autonomous Guangxi region, the New York Times reports, where native villagers and visitors say thousands of rioters enraged over the stepped-up population control measures have destroyed government offices, overturned vehicles, and clashed with police forces.

In Bobai County, witnesses described one assault launched by thousands of peasants upon the government offices of Shapi Township. Villagers smashed through the wall surrounding the government complex, and then sacked the offices, smashing computers and destroying documents, before setting the building afire.

Accounts give conflicting reports of deaths and injuries in the battle and ensuing clash with riot police, but some assert as many as five people have been killed, including three officials responsible for enforcing the harsh measures.

Officials had imposed an unbearable “social child-raising fee” that retroactively punished any one-child policy violators since 1980 starting at 500 yuan ($65 US) to as ruinously high as 70,000 yuan ($9000 US). Witnesses said officials sent out “family planning work squads” to collect the tax even from violators who had paid previous punishing fines and that officials in Bobai County claim to have collected 7.8 million yuan in “social child-raising fees” from February through the end of April.

Families who refused or could not pay the fines were forced to have their homes searched and belongings confiscated.

“Worst of all, the gangsters used hammers and iron rods to destroy people’s homes, while threatening that the next time it would be with bulldozers,” a local peasant calling himself Nong Sheng told the Times.

A Chinese student named Zhou told the UK-based Guardian that his family received a fine of 2,000 yuan for having three sons in the 1980s, but his uncle, who has five children, must pay an impossible 20,000 yuan. “He only earns 1,200 yuan per month … But if you cannot pay, the officials come to your home and confiscate the contents. If you refuse, then smash, smash, smash.”

“Taking to the streets in protest is the only way the Chinese have of expressing their opinion,” Steven Mosher, President of Population Research Institute, commented to Mosher was one of the first social scientists to have access to China’s rural population in the early 1980s and exposed China’s brutal abortion and sterilisation campaign as part of its one-child policy. Mosher added that he had seen entire “prefectures and counties” rise up against the one-child policy followed by the predictable heavy-handed government response.

“China is developing economically and there is a growing desire on the part of Chinese for more freedom and part of the freedom they would like to enjoy is the freedom to decide for themselves the number and spacing of their children,” Mosher said.

However, the Chinese government responds to more to the influence of the United Nations and International Planned Parenthood, which praise the one-child policy, which has led to more than 40 million men in China unable to find wives, and tens of millions of women and their unborn children harmed by forced abortions each year.

“The one child policy will have to end sooner or later because it has been a disaster for China,” said Mosher. “So far 28 years into the policy [the government] show no signs of recognising the obvious.”

Reports of the riots have reached western journalists at the same time as the United States begins to hold high-level trade talks today with China over its $232.5 billion trade deficit, which accounts for one-third of the US total record deficit of $765.3 billion. The trade gap has angered a number of US lawmakers although it is uncertain whether President Bush will address China’s human rights abuses as China has warned the US not to “politicise” their economic relationship.


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