High-profile call to revoke China’s one-child rule
July 5th 2012
Critics of China’s one-child policy appear to have sensed a shift in momentum. A group of 15 prominent Chinese scholars issued a open letter on Thursday calling for a rethink of country’s family-planning laws, arguing that the law in its present form is incompatible with China’s increasing respect for human rights and need for sustainable economic development.
It was the second open call for reform of the one-child policy this week, and comes less than a month after the shocking story of a seven-months pregnant woman forced undergo an abortion ignited a firestorm of anger online.
“The birth approval system built on the idea of controlling population size as emphasized in the current ‘Population and Family Planning Law’ does not accord with provisions on the protection of human rights contained in the nation’s constitution,” the authors of Thursday’s letter wrote, adding that a rewriting of the law was “imperative.”
The list of signatories included several high-profile figures, including Beijing University sociologist Li Jianxin and well-known Internet entrepreneur-cum-economist James Liang.
Family planning has been a hot topic of conversation on China’s Internet ever since mid-June, when graphic photos of 23-year-old Feng Jianmei lying on a hospital bed next to her seven-months old fetus were posted online. According to family members, Ms. Feng—who already has a 5-year-old daughter—was forced to terminate her pregnancy after she and her husband failed to come up with the cash to pay a 40,000 yuan ($6,300) fine for having a second child.
Though it gestured at the ominous economic implications of the one-child policy, Thursday’s letter focused much more on issues of law and reproductive rights, specifically mentioning the furor over Ms. Feng’s forced abortion as evidence of the need for reform. “Behind these incidents are clear limitations and defects in the nation’s family planning laws,” it read.
Read the entire article: Wall Street Journal | China
More on this issue: Population Matters – values
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