From The Financial Times:
doctors have performed more than 330m abortions since the government
implemented a controversial family planning policy 40 years ago,
according to official data from the health ministry.
one-child policy has been the subject of a heated debate about its
economic consequences as the population ages. Forced abortions and
sterilisations have also been criticised by human rights campaigners
such as Chen Guangcheng, the blind legal activist who sought refuge at
the US embassy in Beijing last year.
China first introduced
measures to limit the size of the population in 1971, encouraging
couples to have fewer children. The one-child rule, with exceptions for
ethnic minorities and some rural families, was implemented at the end of
Since 1971, doctors have performed 336m abortions
and 196m sterilisations, the data reveal. They have also inserted 403m
intrauterine devices, a normal birth control procedure in the west but
one that local officials often force on women in China.
numbers do not directly equate to “missing” births because some couples
who violate the one-child rule have also had abortions or been
sterilised, while intrauterine devices can be removed.
Read the entire piece.
And those are just the "official" numbers; we'll never know the total numbers. The piece concludes by
quoting Yang Yuxue, deputy head of the family planning unit, as saying,
"The idea of easing the ageing problem by increasing the fertility rate
is like drinking poison to quench thirst." One wonders, in all
seriousness, when we'll start hearing of China implementing euthanasia
policies for those who are older or infirm. For now, euthanasia is
illegal in China, although there is a grass roots push
for allowing it. Euthanasia is also illegal in the U.S. although three
states allow "assisted suicide", including Oregon, where I've lived
since 1991, which was the first state to drink the "Death with Dignity"
Kool-Aid. (And we are all familiar with how Europe is leading the way, so to speak, on the euthasania front.)
Stepping back, the question emerges: "What, exactly, distinguishes
the culture of death in the West from the culture of death in China?" In
China, the government enforces a one child policy; in the U.S., as
Jonathan Last argues in his book, What To Expect When No One is Expecting,
people willingly embrace a personal policy of one (or none) offspring.
Which is worse: being choked to death by someone else or willfully
killing yourself? In terms of familial, cultural, and social health, is
what is happening in many countries, regardless of their different