Newsflash: One-Child Policy a Boon for Chinese Girls! — The AP’s China Dupes

If there’s one positive to squeeze from communist China’s long-repressive, downright pernicious one-child policy, it’s this: It has prompted even radical feminists to rethink the consequences of their deadly “pro-choice” philosophy.

The policy evolved in the late 1970s and early 1980s, ironically under the Deng Xiao Ping government that was a vast improvement from the nearly 30-year reign of terror by Mao Zedong. Mao turned China red in 1949. After two horrific episodes, the Great Leap Forward of the late 1950s and the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s, China was left with 60-70 million corpses. Mao’s China was responsible for more deaths than any country in the 20th century and all of history. Mao killed more than Hitler or Stalin.

And so, when Deng took over in the late 1970s, there was nowhere to go but up. And up China went, implementing crucial free-market reforms and notable improvements in human rights, planting the seeds for the thriving economic growth in the 1980s, 1990s, and still today.

Of course, there were brutal setbacks along the road, such as the June 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Even then, as the likes of President Richard Nixon (America’s foremost China expert) noted at the time, China under Mao had done far worse than Tiananmen Square. Progress was being made.

Alas, a glaring exception was the one-child policy instituted under Deng. It permits Chinese women to bring to term only one child (in urban areas) and two children (in rural areas). Women who violate the decree face severe fines, and some have endured forced sterilization.

For American feminists and liberals, this policy is a gut-check; it’s a slap at their abortion worldview. Where’s the “choice” in this coercion?

Aside from the blatant intrusion on the freedoms of pregnant women, the one-child policy has had fatal consequences for girls in China. Countless millions of Chinese families—preferring a boy over a girl—have opted to abort baby girls (when identified via ultrasound) or abandon them to orphanages once born. This has birthed a demographic nightmare in China, where the nation now faces millions of “missing girls” (some estimates claim 43 million). The impact on China and Asia and even the world are profound and yet to be realized.

To their credit, some leading “pro-choice” voices, like Hillary Clinton, have condemned the Chinese policy. Really, no one, not even the most wild-eyed feminist, can logically embrace this travesty.

And so, it was disturbing to read an Associated Press piece titled, “One-child policy a surprising boon for China girls.” The story almost cutely, coyly credits the perverse policy for supposedly helping Chinese women in education and advancement generally. The smaller pool of women, the article argues, has opened opportunities for women—that is, the women lucky enough to have not been aborted.

It’s as if the communists have created another novel way to eliminate competition.

Of course, the women who were aborted have no opportunity—none at all. The AP neglected that paradox.

The article glows: “Such gifted young women are increasingly common in China’s cities and make up the most educated generation of women in Chinese history. Never have so many been in college or graduate school, and never has their ratio to male students been more balanced.”

The article chalks up this advancement not to China’s general improvements in recent decades but to the one-child policy.

This “ratio,” the AP celebrates, redounds to all sorts of entertainment and leisure perks for China’s (living) gals. Citing a young woman named “Wang,” the article cheers: “Wang and many of her female classmates grew up with tutors and allowances, after-school classes and laptop computers. Though she is just one generation off the farm, she carries an iPad and a debit card, and shops for the latest fashions online.”

College, grad school, tutors, allowances, laptops, credit cards, iPads, latest fashions. You’ve come a long way, baby; that is, those girl babies able to come out of the womb.

I wish I could say I’m surprised by the AP piece, but I’m not. I have many times talked or emailed with liberals/progressives who do mental-moral gymnastics over China’s one-child policy. Sure, they’ll tell me, it’s wrong to force a woman to have an abortion, but, on the other hand, the world is overpopulated, especially in China, and there are too many people chewing up the world’s precious resources, especially in China, and … you get the picture.

It’s an old belief whose disciples haven’t lost the faith. It was there in Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb. It was there in the Club of Rome’s 1970s report that inspired China’s one-child policy to begin with.

With this latest creative defense, however, the AP has sunk to a new low, serving as unwitting dupes for China’s repressive communist government. The world needs to know that China’s one-child policy is not a “boon” but a human-rights abomination, especially for women.

Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His books include The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007) and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.



  • Lucy

    Paul, you stated “Aside from the blatant intrusion on the freedoms of pregnant women.” This is certainly true as it pertains to forced abortions but isn’t it also true regarding the concept of making abortions illegal? Don’t both actions limit freedom of choice of pregnant women?
    I would add that forced abortion policy and pro-choice policy are at the opposite ends of the spectrum whereas forced abortion policy and anti-choice policy both limit the choices of women and are very similar. Just my thoughts.

  • Francis

    Paul Kengor: Wow, did you read the original article in its entirety? Here is a quote:

    “The birth limits are also often criticized for encouraging sex-selective abortions in a son-favoring society. Chinese traditionally prefer boys because they carry on the family name and are considered better earners.

    With the arrival of sonogram technology in the 1980’s, some families no longer merely hoped for a boy, they were able to engineer a male heir by terminating pregnancies when the fetus was a girl.

    “It is gendercide,” said Therese Hesketh, a University College London professor who has studied China’s skewed sex ratio. “I don’t understand why China doesn’t just really penalize people who’ve had sex-selective abortions and the people who do them. The law exists but nobody enforces it.”‘

    • Matt B

      A few years ago the Discovery Channel aired a program on “The Human Tree,” a man with such bad warts, he resembled a tree. I’m envisioning Francis as the consulting dermatologist, as he examines this human tree: “Well, really, I don’t see the reason for concern. This is not such bad warting activity. Look here, here’s a section of skin with almost no warting at all.” Such blithe optimism deserves some kind of award, perhaps “Stooge of the Year,” or the “He Flies with Pigeons” award, or the “Friends of Teddy Kennedy-Quisling” award. Teddy’s motto? “I wouldn’t recognize a human rights violation, if I started it!” Good luck with your education, Francis. I’m sure your professors/handlers are very pleased with you.

      • Francis

        Such hostility Matt B.! I’m kind of surprised that CV allowed you to print such personal insults. Fortunately, I simply consider the source (youth, ignorance, frustration, arrogance, etc.) and move on with my life. I am not saying I agree with China’s disgusting policies – I certainly do not. This article is very misleading, however, because the reader is not given complete information or even a link to the original article in full. Doesn’t Mr. Kengor have an obligation to the reader to present all of the information, instead of only the information skewed to fit his particular whim? Of course, his failure to include that information is not nearly as morally outrageous as the millions of abortions performed each year in China, but, still, it is poor writing. Apparently Matt B., we are not allowed to ask for the facts of the article, we are only allowed to be outraged at the situation in China. If we dare to suggest that the article is not really giving us all of the information, then we are belittled, accused of being too picky, or simply given ridiculous and sophomoric labels. Kind of surprising on a website that purports to be Christian.

        • Matt B

          1) CNN and other news sources report that 13,000,000 abortions are taking place ANNUALLY in PRC. Extrapolating back to 1973, that high-water mark for human existence, 494,000,0000 abortions have been performed. That’s 1/2 Billion, or roughly half again the existing population of PRC. Ony 2 events in recorded history have been more destructive of human life: Noah’s Flood, and the Black Death.

          2) PRC’s policy of coerced abortion means something else: every married couple MUST use artificial means of contraception. Theoretically, it is impossible for married couples in PRC to practice Catholicism. Your “contraceptive option” found in this country is therefore perfected in PRC into a “contraceptive requirement.” You can look forward to the “contraceptive requirement” coming to the US soon.

        • Matt B

          3) By enforcing this policy, the Chinese Communists are throwing state power behind a capricious adventure of social engineering. Moreover, they are encouraging socialists everywhere into similar disastrous attempts. We see this in projects to foist greenhouse gas agendas; nationalize health care (including federally paid abortions, drastically restricted conscience exemptions, and requirements to pay for contraception – all while exempting HIV from mandated public health reporting requirements, and Big Labor brownshirts from extortionate “penalties”). “Population controllers” and “family planners” across the globe have rallied around China’s flagship policy of social engineering and control. Say goodbye to American notions of personal freedom, and the dignity of all human life. Even VP Biden has “delicately mentioned” the demographic disaster impending PRC. This is like delicately bringing up the posibility of a tsunami, as it sweeps you out to sea.

          Jesus said in Revelation about the Laodicians that he would “vomit them from his mouth” for being lukewarm. Perhaps Jesus was not being Christian either?

          • Francis

            So, of course, the policies of China are horrible – not only because of abortion but because of the invasiveness of the government on reproductive rights. Got it. I agree completely with you on that, and with Mr. Kengor on that. I strongly suspect even VP Biden agrees with you on that. However, I still think that Mr. Kengor has a responsibility to be thorough in his writing, and to include information that he left out. I also disagree with you on the ‘contraceptive requirement coming to the U.S. soon’.

        • Matt B

          Sophomoric? Ouch!

  • Kevin C.

    Anyone reading this really should check out Mara Hvistendahl’s book “Unnatural Selection.” While she comes at it from a pro-abortion perspective, she is very thorough in her research and refreshingly objective in her writing, keeping any editorializing to the forward and otherwise to a minimum. The data and interview material are damning to the ‘pro-choice’ worldview.



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