Sterilization in China in 2010

Saturday, Dec 25, 2010

According to Chinese media reports, officials in Puning City, Guangdong Province aim to sterilize 9,559 people, some against their will, by 26 April.

The authorities started the campaign to sterilize people who already have at least one child on 7 April.

Four days later, the authorities said they had already met 50 per cent of their target.

The Puning City authorities are also reported to have detained 1,377 relatives of couples targeted for sterilization in an apparent attempt to pressure them to consent to having the operation.

Local birth quotas, upheld by stiff penalties as well as rewards, play a prominent part in the policy. Reports of coerced abortions and sterilizations have continued and few officials are believed to have been brought to justice or punished for such abuses.

Children born outside the quota are not issued residency registration documents known as hukou. Without hukou, they have no access to health care, education or other social security provisions.

Thousands at risk of forced sterilization in China, Amnesty International, April 21, 2010, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/thousands-risk-forced-sterilization-china-2010-04-22.

Married people are pressured to sign “contracts” with the government in which they promise to comply with various aspects of the policy;

Married people are required to obtain permission from the government before they give birth;

Married women are pressured to undergo regular gynecological tests in order for the government to monitor their reproductive statuses;

Married women are urged to insert intrauterine devices (IUDs) or be sterilized when they have reached their birth quotas, thus depriving them of their choice over birth control methods;

Women who are pregnant out-of-quota—which includes premarital pregnancies—are often forced to abort the fetuses, even in advanced pregnancies;

Men and women who have violated the policy, as well as their families and relatives, have been punished with arbitrary detention, beatings, fines, and loss of property; others have been fired from their jobs and their out-of-quota children have been denied household registration permits (hukou);

Both parents and children face discrimination as a result of the policy, as education and employment opportunities, and even social services, are linked to compliance with the policy.

I Don’t Have a Choice over My Own Body, Chinese Human Rights Defenders, December 21, 2010, http://chrdnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/%E2%80%9CI-Don%E2%80%99t-Have-a-Choice-over-My-Own-Body%E2%80%9D.pdf.

Government officials said the [one-child] policy was a great success, preventing at least 250 million births since 1980.

China steps up 'one child' policy, BBC, September 25, 2000, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/941511.stm.