This was not a gaffe. This was a disgrace. In a speech at Sichuan University, Vice President Joe Biden said, “Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family.” But, he continued, this policy is creating demographic difficulties, such that “one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”
Following criticism, Biden’s spokesperson, Kendra Barkoff, insisted that Biden, along with the entire Obama administration, finds the Chinese government’s population-control regime “repugnant.” But she seemed confused as to what the fuss was about. “He also pointed out, in China, that the policy is, as a practical matter, unsustainable. He was arguing against the One Child Policy to a Chinese audience.”
Well, yes, but in the most abstract and anodyne way. Saying “I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing” is practically an endorsement — and certainly much milder language than the administration has aimed at Republican budget proposals. Biden didn’t condemn the immorality or brutality of a system of forced sterilization and forced abortion — he merely noted that the demographic consequences of thus drastically limiting the population would lead to problems for China’s version of Social Security. It’s as if, speaking in Damascus, he had told a Syrian audience that the government’s handling of protesters would lead to a decline in tourism.
Can the vice president really be ignorant of what goes on in China? Has he forgotten that even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when she was first lady, condemned the policy at a 1995 Beijing conference? Did he miss all of the State Department country reports detailing the harsh interrogation of Chinese women, the tracking of their menstrual cycles by government officials, and the steep fines for having “unauthorized” children? Is he really unaware that when women go into hiding to conceal their pregnancies, other family members are often beaten and tortured until they turn themselves in and submit to abortion and sterilization?
Mr. Biden was on the Foreign Relations Committee for many years. Did he miss all of the hearings on this subject? The reports by Amnesty International? Did he miss the Washington Post story about the imprisonment of blind human-rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who served more than four years in ghastly conditions for protesting the brutality of the one-child policy? The Post story mentioned 10,000 forced sterilizations performed in Puning City. Chen revealed that in Linyi County, Shandong Province, alone, there were 130,000 forced abortions in 2005. Is the vice president truly unaware that children born in defiance of the one-child policy are not permitted to enroll in school or see a doctor?
But many, many Chinese babies don’t even get that far. They are ripped from their struggling mothers’ wombs by government goons. The London Sunday Times reported, for example, the trauma of Zhang Linla, the mother of a four-year-old daughter who became pregnant again without permission. “Six days before the due date, 10 strong strangers came to my house, forced me into a truck then took me to a family planning clinic, where the doctor gave me an injection [of a drug to induce labor]. The child began struggling in my womb and one of these scum even kicked me in the abdomen. Then the baby came out and they threw it into a rubbish bin. I could even see it was still moving.”
Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.Y.), recounted the testimony of Wujian, another Chinese woman tortured by the one-child policy. She too was kidnapped and taken from her home while pregnant. “As soon as I was drug out of the van, I saw hundreds of pregnant moms there — all of them just like pigs in the slaughterhouse. Immediately I was drug into a special room, and without any preliminary medical examination, one nurse did Oxytocin injection intravenously. Then I was put into a room with several others. . . . Some were crying, some were mourning, some were screaming, and one was rolling on the floor in unbearable pain. . . . I kept asking [the abortionist] how could you become a killer? She told me there was nothing serious about this whole thing for her. She did these all year.” Wujian did not go into labor. Her child was therefore aborted using dilation and extraction, in which scissors were used to dismember the baby first.
The Chinese Communist government, which has killed more people than any regime in the history of the world (65 million according to the Black Book of Communism), regards human beings as widgets to be manipulated or destroyed in the service of the state. Yes, they’ve developed an expanding economy by adopting free-market practices. But the regime remains one of the most vicious on the planet. It is deeply shameful that the vice president needed to be reminded of that.