Thursday, September 28, 2017

What The New York Times missed on Chinese women and the Communist revolution

Question: How many Chinese girls never got to dream beyond the dying rooms thanks to China's one child policy? Answer: Millions.  (Responding to New York Times opinion piece over twitter)

During Mao's Cultural Revolution thousands of young women were raped in camps
On September 25, 2017 at 8:11pm NYT Opinion tweeted: "For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big" and sparked an online conversation with many outraged at what they rightfully described as a white wash of a mass murdering dictatorship.
Furthermore if one considers that up to 45 million Chinese were killed under Mao Ze Dong and his Communist revolution. 22 and a half million were women but that blood bath didn't specifically target only the female sex and although historically the Chinese tyrant out did both Stalin and Hitler combined for greatest mass murderer in human history the pages  of The New York Times found space to opine on the "achievements" of communism in China. Mao took power on October 1, 1949 and ruled with an iron fist until his death on September 9, 1976 and left a record of carnage difficult to equal over 27 years.

Ten years prior to his death the old dictator launched the Cultural Revolution that began a decade of bloodshed that would claim millions of lives.  First generation dictator Mao Zedong was 72 years old at the time and the communist regime had been in power 17 years and on May 16, 1966 the communist party May 16 Notification warned that the party had been infiltrated by counter-revolutionary “revisionists” who were plotting to create a “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.” China expert Frank Dikotter explained how in "1968, millions were sent to the countryside after they finished school, some of whom were girls as young as 14. Thousands of young girls were left at the mercy of villagers and raped.” Xinran  in her 2002 The Good Women of China described how young girls suffered the worse of the sexual horrors in the Cultural Revolution: "The perpetrators were their teachers, their friends, even their fathers and brothers, who lost control of their animal instincts." 
Mao died in 1976 and the decade long blood letting came to an end.

But the communist regime continued on, after the founder's departure, and three years later began it's infamous one-child policy. On September 26, 1980 The New York Times ran a UPI story reporting that "Chinese Reds Limited To a Child Per Family"  and euphemistically wrote  "China intensified its population-control drive today by ordering the 38 million Communist Party members to have only one child per family" and how the policy would use "painstaking patience and persuasion." Decade later Time Magazine reported in 2015 that "patience and persuasion" included "forced abortions and sterilization, and a gender imbalance resulting from female infanticide." 
 Tom Hilditch in the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), repr. in World Press Review, in September of 1995 described it as a "A Holocaust of Little Girls" and reported on the plight of a Chinese baby girl in an orphanage:
Mei-ming has lain this way for 10 days now: tied up in urine-soaked blankets, scabs of dried mucus growing across her eyes, her face shrinking to a skull, malnutrition slowly shrivelling her two-year old body. The orphanage staff call her room the "dying room", and they have abandoned here for the very same reasons her parents abandoned her shortly after she was born. She is a girl. When Mei-ming dies four days later, it will be of sheer neglect. Afterward, the orphanage will deny she ever existed. She will be just another invisible victim of the collision between China's one-child policy and its traditional preference for male heirs. She is one of perhaps 15 million female babies who have disappeared from China's demographics since the one-child-per-family policy was introduced in 1979.
Kathryn Joyce in her article in The New Republic on June 1, 2016 described how things operated in China in 2003 and contradicted Hilditch's claim that parents abandoned their daughters, but that many were forcibly taken: "It was a time of harsh family planning enforcement in their area, when married women were required to have four annual pregnancy tests to ensure they didn’t become pregnant outside of family planning guidelines. If they did, local policy mandated abortion and sterilization. Local family planning officials operated under the threat of docked salaries for over-quota births and offered rewards to anonymous tipsters who informed on their neighbors."

A free press is a benchmark of a free society that needs to be celebrated and defended from both  external and internal threats. Since it is a free institution, it must be self-policing and only answer to its customers on the basis of the quality of the journalism.  The shameful track record of The New York Times white washing the crimes of communism needs to exposed not only in China but the Soviet Union and in Cuba too.

Walter Duranty won the Pulitzer covering up Stalin's 1930s manufactured famine in Ukraine that claimed eight to 10 million lives in the Soviet Union. With his reports denying the reality all around him this New York Times journalist was complicit in genocide. Twenty years later in Cuba Herbert Matthews engaged in a fallacious propaganda campaign disguised as news reporting to turn Fidel Castro into a national figure presenting him as an anti-communist and a democrat. The total number of dead  is still being added to 58 years later for the lies he reported in the 1950s. William F. Buckley Jr. in an article in the March 1961 issue of The American Legion magazine outlined the impact of Mr. Matthews on the imposition of communism in Cuba and placed it in a larger context:
"The leader of pro-Castro opinion in the United States is Herbert L. Matthews , a member of the editorial staff of the New York Times. He did more than any other single man to bring Fidel Castro to power.
Recalling the wise words of Russian author and dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. "One word of truth outweighs the world,” the rest of this blog entry will lay out the facts about the dying rooms and birth control in China under the one child policy that continued until 2015.

Amnesty International has monitored how it operates in practice and in 1996 published the report China: No one is safe and presented details and specific cases:

Birth control policy in China

The official line
Family planning is “voluntary”, although birth control has been compulsory since 1979. Government demographers recommend stabilization of the population at 1.3 billion by the year 2000, which they say can only be achieved through “strict measures”. “Coercion is not permitted”, according to the State Family Planning Commission.

Some facts
-Women pregnant outside the plan have been abducted and forced to have abortions or undergo sterilization.
-Pregnant women have been detained and threatened until they agree to have abortions.
-People who refuse to comply with the policy have been harassed and some have been ill-treated by officials.
-“Above-quota” new-born babies have reportedly been killed by doctors under pressure from officials.
-The homes of couples who refuse to obey the child quotas have been demolished.
-Relatives of those who cannot pay fines imposed for having had too many children have been held hostage until the money was paid.
-Those helping families to have “above quota” children have been severely punished.
-Those committing human rights violations while enforcing the birth control policy often go unpunished.

A victim
An unmarried woman in Hebei province who had adopted one of her brother’s children was detained several times in an attempt to force her brother to pay fines for having had too many children. In November 1994 she was held for seven days with a dozen other men and women. She was reportedly blindfolded, stripped naked, tied and beaten with an electric baton.
Quote: ‘It was part of my work to force have abortions. In the evening, when the couple was likely to be at home, we would go to their houses and drag the woman out. If the woman was not at home, we would take her husband or another member along and keep them in custody until the woman turned herself in.’ - A former family planning official, 1993

In April of 2010, Roseann Rife, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director said:"Forced sterilizations carried out by officials amount to torture and the haste of the procedures raises questions about their safety and possible health impacts."
The Communist revolution in China for many women was a nightmare and for many more non-existence. The New York Times reproduced a lie on its opinion pages. Sadly it was not the first time and I fear it won't be the last.

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