One-child policy misinformation being planted in Western media, warns SPUC

London, 28th February 2008 - Western media outlets are disseminating misinformation by the Chinese Communist regime allegedly implying that China might scrap or significantly relax its one-child, forced-abortion population control policy.

Reuters and the Guardian have today published reports analysing comments by Zhao Baige, Chinese's population control minister, to a Beijing press conference. The headlines read "China could scrap its one-child policy" and "China considers ending one-child policy", even though nothing in the minister's comments suggests such a move.

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "Experts know (see 'Notes for editors' below) that the Chinese Communist regime makes misleading statements about human rights when the international spotlight is on China, such as now in the run-up to the Olympics. Such statements are intended for Western consumption only and specifically designed to mislead Westerners into wishful thinking that the regime's crimes against humanity, such as the one-child policy, are coming to an end.

"The false claim by the Guardian's Tania Branigan that the one-child policy's 'enforcement system is far less punitive than in the 80s and early 90s' is one such example of how the Chinese regime has been successful in planting such misinformation into the Western media.

"After the Olympics, the Western media should conduct on-the-ground investigations into the one-child policy's implementation, where they will discover the reality of continuing forced abortions rather than the myths the Communist regime has led them to believe," concluded Mr Ozimic.

Notes for editors

The late Dr John S. Aird, former senior China specialist at the U.S. Bureau for the Census, who was one of the world's experts on the one-child policy, wrote to SPUC in 2003: "The Chinese family planning authorities are continuing their old trick of talking tough to their own people while giving a gentle image to the gullible foreigners. It is a clumsy, transparently obvious trick, but it still works as it has in the past. That is why the Chinese authorities still use it! When will the foreigners wise up?"

Shortly before his death in October 2005, Dr Aird also wrote to SPUC: "[T]he new Chinese leadership under Hu Jintao seems to have taken, if anything, a still harder line on population control than its predecessor. I think the Party leaders have tied themselves so tightly to this policy for so long that they dare not modify it significantly now for fear of giving the impression they have finally recognized it was all a terrible mistake....Any notion that the vague assurances in [China's 2002 population control] law about carrying out family planning in a 'civilized manner' or respecting the 'legitimate rights' of citizens will mean greater recognition of human rights in family planning is mere wishful thinking."