1.24.2007

The Hidden Genocide

I've wanted to adopt from China since I did a project on the One-Child Rule in China. I learned about the hidden genocide of baby girls that occurred as soon as the law was put into affect in 1979 and I have no doubt that the genocide continues. I read stories of baby girls being found in gutters and allies, often chewed on by wild dogs. Baby girls were drowned and suffocated and thrown out with that week's trash.

Recently, I've been baffled by the recent reports that there's such a high demand for Chinese babies that they're actually running out and have therefore constructed even stricter restrictions for International Adoption. I first heard of this talking to a friend (I honestly can't remember who, otherwise I'd send her this article) who said that they're running out of Chinese babies. I didn't believe her for a second because I was very aware of the situation in China and the fact that baby girls are still loathed to the Chinese who'd rather have a boy as their only child rather than a girl. But I was baffled at the news that the Chinese government has increased the restrictions on adoptions and are granting fewer babies to International applicants. It is distressing news to someone who cares deeply about the baby girls in China and also to a prospective adopter.

This New York Tims article (thanks for sending it my way, hubby!) touches on some of the possible reasons for China reining in foreign adoption:
The issue of abandoned and institutionalized children remains a taboo subject in China, a problem the government does not even acknowledge exists. The impulse to hide it seems to stem partly from embarrassment and partly from fear of revealing the grave human rights abuses the one-child policy has produced; surely, watching a parade of well-off foreigners cart off thousands of babies would make the Chinese authorities understandably uncomfortable.
If I know anything about Chinese culture it's that it is a very proud culture, so I can buy this reasoning. What I can't buy is that nobody's doing anything about a very obvious human rights violation. According the the Times:

According to a February 2005 report in The Weekend Standard, a Chinese business newspaper, demographers in China found a ratio of 117 boys per 100 girls under the age of 5 in the 2000 census. Thanks to China’s one-child policy, put into effect in 1979 in order to curb population growth, and a strong cultural preference for male children, this gender gap could result in as many as 60 million “missing” girls from the population by the end of the decade, enough to alarm even Chinese officials.

And what happened to these girls? According to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (a term that takes on a whole new meaning when referring to China), there are about seven million abortions in China per year, 70 percent of which are estimated to be of females. That adds up to around five million per year, or 50 million by the end of the decade; so where are the other 10 million girls? If even 10 percent end up in orphanages... well, you do the math.

Just to give you an idea of the new stricter guidelines for international adopters:

Under the new Chinese adoption guidelines, the international adoption celebrity Angelina Jolie could not adopt from China (she’s not married, and alas, she and Brad have more than two divorces between them, which is a no-no); nor could the actress Meg Ryan (again, not married). Another person who is not eligible is yours truly. My husband is over 50, so I would have to trade him in, marry again, wait the required five years (another new rule) before beginning the adoption process, and by that time I would be sneaking up on 50 myself.

It is comforting to know that Madonna is still eligible, at least until she turns 50, gets fat (the new regulations call for a body mass index of less than 40), gets divorced or goes broke (anyone with a net worth of under $80,000 is excluded).

Yeah, a little crazy there. Also, no mental or physical illnesses and no disabled persons. So far, once I turn thirty, I'll still be eligible. But then the process right now takes between 16-24 months, nearly double what it used to take. You truly have to wonder if China's putting its image or the children first with these new guidelines. After all I know overweight and disabled people who'd make much better parents then some of those image obsessed people running around out there, so using that as a guideline seems extreme and unnecessary, if not prejudice. But history tells us that China has rarely put their baby girls first over anything, ever. And so one can only assume that the orphanages (which China Rarely lets foreigners visit, you need permission from the government to visit any orphanage in China) are still overcrowded with unwanted baby girls, perhaps not murdered by their parents, but slowly being murdered through malnutrition and disease by the China's pride.

2 comments:

Asiimwe said...

Hi I think your piece is very informative on the adotpion policy but Iam asking you whether you have considered he general trend of adoption polcy in most other parts of the world.
i think it is changing with the times, because mostly of brain drain and majorly nation pride. as countries today want to be seen as less and less aggressive;even china.

tak to you soon.

mai wen said...

Actually I have looked at international adoption in general, and not only have I found that some countries celebrate adoption but also other than South Korea China's new adoption rules are seen as very extreme in the international adoption circuit. South Korea is only more extreme because they have a quota of how many children for South Korea can be adopted in a year and if that quota is filled they won't allow any more adoptions even if there are children in need. Other than that, I've read no news of other countries drastically tightening their adoption rules. I'm curious of what you've read on this subject matter and what countries do you think have drastically changed their rules recently. I'd love for you to point me in that direction!!

Thanks so much for your input and thoughts!

 

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