Friday, July 25, 2008

At Time Of Olympics, China's Population Control Policy Not Medal Worthy

Yesterday, H. Res. 1370, was passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Resolution calls on "the Government of the People's Republic of China to immediately end abuses of the human rights of its citizens, to cease repression of Tibetan and Uighur citizens, and to end its support for the Governments of Sudan and Burma to ensure that the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games take place in an atmosphere that honors the Olympic traditions of freedom and openness."

Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) offered an amendment to the bill to address China's one-child policy. The amendment calls on the Chinese government to abandon its coercive population control policy, which includes forced abortion and involuntary sterilization. Smith's amendment passed by a voice vote and became part of H. Res. 1370.

This Resolution will likely go before the full House sometime next week. With both the Congressional summer recess and the 2008 Summer Olympics fast approaching, this is a very important vote. Please contact your Representative and request that he or she support this Resolution. A full list of members of the United States House of Representatives is available at http://www.house.gov.

Although this Resolution is very important and will send a message that the United States does not support China's coercive population control policy and condemns its human rights violations, words are not enough. Congress must back this up with action, specifically by defunding groups who work to further China's abhorrent practice of coerced and forced abortions.

On April 23, 2007, National Public Radio, in an article entitled, "Cases of Forced Abortions Surface in China, reported that women in China have been forced to have abortions, as late as nine months into their pregnancies. The full article can be found at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9766870.

Last week, both the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and the Senate Appropriations Committee considered a FY09 Foreign Operations Bill which creates an exception to the more than two decades old Kemp-Kasten provision. The new language creates a special carve-out for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations population agency that has assisted the Chinese government with their coercive population control program since its inception in 1979.

The Kemp-Kasten provision gives the President the authority to deny U.S. funding to an organization or program that supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.

Representative Dave Weldon (R-FL) said of last week's action by the House Subcommittee, “For years we have sought to protect women and children in China because it was morally wrong to support China’s forced abortion program. Now the Democrat Majority in the House has voted to change existing law and send millions of dollars to UNFPA and turn a blind eye to the egregious human rights violations that UNFPA promotes in China. This is a despicable policy change."

The FY09 Foreign Operations Bill could come before both Houses of Congress prior to the August recess. Please contact your Senators and Representatives and ask them to uphold the Kemp-Kasten provision in order to prevent the furtherance of China's forced abortion policy.
A full list of Senators and Congressmen can be found at: http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov.