The Scare Behind the Red Scare

Last week’s news from China has Chinese census takers violating an earlier promise by squealing on families that have violated China’s “one-child” policy. According to reports from Agence France-Presse, census takers in the southern province of Hunan have provided information they had collected to family planning workers who then charged a family the equivalent of $422 for having one child too many. In a separate case in Hunan, a family was fined by census takers for having refused to register their illegally-born child without payment.

The report further states that the incidents have caused families to hide from census takers. China’s strict one-child policy allows every couple no more than one child, except in the countryside where couples can have a second child if the first is a girl.

While such reports are not surprising, the number of incidents in recent months should be cause for alarm. They demonstrate a marked increase in human rights abuses in the communist country.

For example, China’s six year-old campaign to end underground Christian churches, as opposed to state-sponsored churches, continues unabated. Consider the following:

• The Cardinal Kung Foundation has reported that one Catholic bishop, 2 auxiliary bishops, and two priests have been arrested and detained since August. Bishop Thomas Zeng Jingmu was released in October.

• Police in central China recently arrested 130 Christians in August, including three U.S. missionaries, accusing them of being members of a heretical cult. The missionaries were later released.

• In August, Liu Bainian, national secretary of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, excluded the possibility of mainland Chinese youth from attending World Youth Day in Rome.

• Since September, one Chinese Protestant and three members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement died while in police custody. Police beatings are suspected in each of the deaths.

• On October 1st, Catholic Church members were banned entry to mainland China in response to the Vatican’s canonization of 120 Chinese and missionary martyrs. Beijing objected strongly to their canonizations — the Church’s first from China — claiming they were enemies of the state.

In addition, 25 years of China’s strict one-child policy has led not only to incidents of forced sterilization, selective abortion targeting girls, and child abandonment, but also to infanticide.

In August, family planning officials in the Chinese province of Hubei forcibly drowned a baby boy in front of its parents, Mr. and Mrs. Liu.

Yet, the West looks on impassively, leaving it to watchdog groups such as the Cardinal Kung Foundation, Amnesty International and the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy to do what little they can to shed light on such abuses.

The United States Congress, hoping to influence China through the approval of permanent normal trade relations (PNTR), may want to reconsider that strategy given the news of the past two months. It was revealed in September, following the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug RU-486, that a Chinese manufacturer will be producing the drug to import to the United States.

The unwillingness of American pharmaceutical companies to manufacture this deadly drug led Danco Laboratories, the New York-based pharmaceutical company that holds the exclusive license to deliver the product to the U.S. market, to find a manufacturer in China. Hua Lian is one of three Chinese companies producing mifepristone under different brand names. The drug, under the name Mifeprex, hit the U.S. market last week.

Not only is China unleashing its anti-family, anti-faith, anti-life campaign against its own people, but it is now unleashing a form of chemical warfare on our own country’s children as well. In view of such news, PNTR proponents in Congress may want to ask themselves who is influencing whom.

“There is no way to separate the abuses from the policy — one naturally begets the other. In a country where human rights abuses begin in the womb, the value of human dignity and the sanctity of human life can have no meaning and no hope,” says Father Matthew Habiger, president of Human Life International.

In a country in which a majority of people seem to be questioning the prevailing communist rule, the government’s only option is suppression, as evidenced by the increase in religious persecution.

What hope do the Chinese people have under a government that is so openly hostile to both life and faith? Their only hope is their faith itself. Where the Church is persecuted, it invariably prevails. Efforts to suppress the Church have only resulted in its growth from 3 million to an estimated 12 million throughout China.

Tim Drake


Tim Drake is an award-winning journalist, the author of six books on religion and culture, and a former radio host. Widely published, and a long-time contributor to the National Catholic Register, he serves as Senior Editor/Director of News Operations for the Cardinal Newman Society.

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