China 'will not change one-child policy'
22 March 2006
China will not change its one-child policy, according to a senior official in the family planning programme. In an attempt to quash rumours that the policy could be dropped, Zhang Weiqing, Minister in charge of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said, "To maintain the current low birth rate, the family planning policy must not change." Claiming that the one-child policy had helped prevent million of births in the last 30 years, Mr Weiqing defended the coercive programme, saying, "The goal of ensuring Chinese people a relatively comfortable life would not be achieved if we had 400 million more people." [The Hindu, 22 March]
The Chinese government has been accused of stealing 12 children and demanding ransoms for their return. Farmers in the Hunan province have signed a petition demanding the return of the children who were born outside the one-child policy and are therefore classed as "unregistered" by the government. Yuan Zhengnan, whose daughter was taken away by officials in September 2004 while playing with her grandfather said, "I know giving birth to a third daughter is breaching the country's family planning policy, but they can't take my baby away." The children, mostly girls, are thought to be in orphanages but their whereabouts are unknown. County officials maintain that the children were taken in accordance with the national family planning policy. [Asia News, 21 March]
Obstetricians and paediatricians are urging the government to double its funding for research into premature births. More than 30 doctors have already signed an online petition organised by the charity Action Medical Research, which demands that the government increase funding to £12 million a year. Jane Norman, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the University of Glasgow, said: "Pre-term birth is still the single biggest cause of mortality and morbidity amongst babies born the UK. Research funding is desperately needed to prevent this happening to babies born in the future." [ITV, 21 March]
A woman has pleaded guilty to killing four of her newborn babies in Graz, southern Austria. Her partner denied involvement in the killings. The bodies of two newborns were found in a freezer and two others in buckets filled with cement. The 33-year-old woman, who cannot be named, has denied murdering a fifth child. The trial continues. [The Guardian, 22 March]
The cardinal of Bogota, the capital of Colombia has asked for the prayers of all pro-lifers to stop abortion from being legalised in the country. A case currently before the Constitutional Court is to decide whether abortion should continue to be illegal. Cardinal Pedro Rubiano, who is one of the leaders of the Colombian pro-life campaign, wrote to the Latin American Alliance for the Family on 6 March, saying, "We ask for the support of all of the people in the entire world who care about life to join with us in crying out to heaven for the success of these efforts. The future, not only of Colombia, but of all of Latin America is at stake. The loss of one country will substantially weaken the pro-life fabric of all of Latin America." [Catholic World News, 21 March]