Monday, July 11, 2005

The sky is the limit

Scott just sent me following:
I've enjoyed seeing pictures of your life in sweden. I recently went home myself, to virginia, and it was more beautiful than it has ever been before. I've been in cities for a long time now. Standing in a forest, swimming in a natural clean pool of water; I never appreciated these things so much in my whole life. Anyway, judging from your blog pictures, I'm guessing you might be having the same thoughts.
I do.

Most of all I enjoy being able to see the sky everyday and that the water from the tap tastes like spring water.

I rented an apartment together with Scott, WuZheJian, WenYa, Mr.Evil and some other Chinese friends during most of my year at Peking University.


Nuh, Ghod is the limit for you said...

(The article shows the main-stream views of the west. All Chinese should read and understand the bigoted/hateful/ignorant nature of the Christian west.)

The People's Republic of China's trade surplus with the United States approached $100 billion in fiscal year 2002. But the most significant and permanent Chinese export to the United States is not counted in dollars: Over the last decade, more than 30,000 Chinese children, the vast majority of them girls, have been adopted by American parents.

The flow dipped when China temporarily suspended adoptions last May due to the SARS outbreak. But in 2002, the INS processed 5,053 immigrant visas for children adopted from China, nearly 1,000 more than from Russia, and over twice as many as other large groups of adoptees from countries like Guatemala, South Korea, and Vietnam.

There is a uniquely cruel reality behind the Chinese adoptions. These girls do not need to be adopted because of poverty. Rather, they have been made expendable by deliberate government policy: the "one child" law maintained by the Chinese Communist Party which limits Chinese couples to a single baby in order to force population reduction. The Chinese government enforces the one-child policy through heavy fines, pressure from employers and communist officials, and other means. Human rights activists have documented forced abortions and sterilizations, even infanticide. And in combination with ingrained cultural preferences for male children in China, the one-child policy has created a wave of abandoned girls in orphanages, as families get rid of "illegal" girls so that they can fill their one-child quota with a son.

Why have outsiders reacted to China's harsh one-child rules so blithely? Some Westerners say the Chinese government cannot be dissuaded on this point, so they don't even try. But China's actions amidst the 2003 SARS outbreak suggest the government may be more susceptible to outside pressure than some imagine.

When the SARS epidemic swept China, the government first denied its existence, then denied its true scope. Officials intentionally deceived and obfuscated. It was not public health concerns, but the Communist Party's obsession with China's world image that drove its policies.

But as hints of what was going on in China trickled out, there was unprecedented scrutiny and criticism of Chinese SARS policies by foreigners, including the World Health Organization. When it was no longer possible to hide the epidemic, China finally responded to the public relations crisis with an announcement of draconian measures to combat the spread of SARS, including widespread quarantines, and the death penalty for knowingly spreading the disease.

Even then, politics remained paramount: Despite the outbreak of SARS in Taiwan, China continued to fight the inclusion of Taiwan in the World Health Organization. But China realized it could not defy world opinion indefinitely.

The difference between SARS and the one-child policy is that the world cares about SARS because it affects people outside of China. SARS shone an unattractive international light on the Chinese Communist Party. But the coercive one-child policy (and many other domestic crimes by the party) have been there for the world to observe for many years. Many foreign governments have simply decided to turn a blind eye.

The one-child policy was enacted in 1979 under Deng Xiaoping. As China's economy developed throughout the 1980s and '90s, the enforcement of the one-child law actually became stricter. Despite periodic speculation that China might scrap the policy, the Communist Party Central Committee affirmed in 2001 that it was happy with the policy and intended to leave it in force.

Adam Pertman, director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York, describes the link between Chinese adoptions and the one-child policy as "pretty direct." He says that "the policy certainly causes the majority of the abandonment of little girls. In some countries, adoptions are caused by an economic policy. In Guatemala, it was a civil war. A policy such as China's is certainly unique."

Kay Johnson of Hampshire College in Massachusetts has studied abandoned children in China since the mid 1990s. Herself the adoptive mother of a Chinese girl, Johnson says that virtually all the abandoned Chinese girls she investigated were due to the government's rule: "The heart of the problem is the one-child policy."

Some Chinese dissidents argue that the foreign adoptions are not only a consequence of the one-child policy, but a motivation to keep it in place. Harry Wu spent 19 years in a Chinese laogai forced labor camp and now publicizes Chinese human rights abuses through the Washington-based Laogai Research Foundation. Wu says bluntly, "China is exporting orphans to make money."

Wu makes the case that the adoption costs paid by Westerners add up to significant money for the Chinese government, ticking off the plane tickets, documents, fees to middlemen, and direct payments to the Chinese government. Wu also questions the donations to orphanages that families with adopted children are encouraged to make after their return to the United States. "The orphanages are government businesses," Wu says-and now money-making ones, because their budgets, he charges, are less than the fees paid by American parents.

Johnson disputes this. She says that "much more money ends up in the hands of Americans," citing plane tickets, fees paid to American adoption services, and the $1,000 to the INS for an adopted child's visa and passport. "Economics is not a motivation," she argues.

Rather, Johnson says, the Chinese government has an absolute moral certainty that the one-child policy is a modernizing force. Western population control advocates like the Ford Foundation have actually encouraged China in maintaining its policy, she notes. But while Wu's economic charge may not hold up, his central observation is indisputable: "Giving birth is a fundamental human right. In China the government controls it."

At the Massachusetts adoptive-parents organization Families with Children, Shantih Fry asks for sensitivity to the situations of the adoptive families. "Whatever is behind a child being separated from parents, it is never a pretty story. It is always a tough situation." But in the case of the abandoned Chinese girls, this tough situation is entirely created, maintained, and defended by the Chinese government.

A dynamic develops in the stories of many of the adoptive parents: Their desire to shelter their children from prejudice and to promote their Chinese heritage can subtly blend into the role of defending the Chinese government. Like China's government, many parents and adoption groups avoid discussing the one-child policy, partly because they want to maintain amicable relations with the Chinese government. But is that getting too close to putting a happy face on Chinese communist oppression?

There is an extensive literature now on Chinese adoptions in the United States. Yet very few writers draw the connection between the overseas adoption flow and the ban on second children that Chinese couples face. America's pro-life activists have been one of the only organized groups to give attention to this subject.

Many of the American communities in which adopted Chinese girls are becoming a recognizable demographic are university towns or cities. Older childless professionals, including some single parents and gays and lesbians, are heavily represented among the adopters. In this population there has been no groundswell against the government pressures that are giving rise to the abandonment of so many little girls in China in the first place.

Undeniably, the Westerners who adopt the girls save them from a harsh life. And the adopted Chinese children bring joy to their new parents. Their presence in American schools and communities encourages generous rethinking of ideas about race and family. If the numbers of adoptees from China continue at current levels, Chinese girls with American parents will make up a noticeable slice of the upper middle class population in many parts of the country.

While there is little prospect for an end to the one-child law under China's current government, many do see hope that the adopted girls may one day find their birth mothers. American parents of this wave of adopted Chinese girls emphasize their children's Chinese heritage and remind their children that they have a family in China. Children's books like Mommy Far, Mommy Near and contacts with other adopted Chinese children keep the idea alive.

Kay Johnson believes that Westerners must encourage Chinese leaders to abandon their Malthusian notion that a growing population is a threat to the country, even with a modernizing economy. For, ultimately, as she puts it: "There is no humane way to have a one-child policy." Shouldn't Americans be concerned with policies that warp Chinese lives in ways that any American would find profoundly objectionable in his or her own life-or should we care only about issues like SARS that could hurt us?

Johan said...

No. That text shows the view of Brian Connelly in his column
labeled "The Problem behind Chinese Adoptions". The source could easily be found on the Internet. Anyone with any aspiration to be taken serious would quote the sources.

I didn't even care to read it. This post is obviously not the right place for this. In a different forum, with a sensible person, at a different time, maybe I would be interested in debating it.

Your statement that this article (or any article) would sum up "the main-stream view of the west" statement is your personal opinion and in my opinion at best amusing.

To make sweeping general accusations is perhaps not the best way to show that "the Christian west" is "bigoted/hateful/ignorant". At least if you are trying to say that you are different.

A more interesting question is perhaps: Is this to be considered a comment-spam or flamebait
? I'm leading towards comment-spam. Any opinion?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Johan said...

I moved 2 comments made by an anonymous poster to the 'Parents article about China' post where it belonged.

Anonymous said...

That was a right thing to do, dear. Feeling headache reading too much of that.

Be careful Wen! said...

Sigh, Wen, if I were you, I would read the article in full. This will be your first time to see eye to eye of the hostile western Christianity ideology. Do not be confused. Be determined. Read and understand the article. Try your best to understand it.

别忘了问Tifanie “Why Christian churches are segregated in the US”? “Why everyone, Christian or not, have to pledge One Nation Under Ghod, in the US”?

To Johan said...

Johan, here is what I would say – TaoDeChing style:

The best case is real good people knowing they are good people;
The next best case is real good people thinking they are bad;
The next case is bad people knowing they are bad;
The worst case is real bad people thinking they are good.

Christians fall in the last case.

truth on Christianity said...

Wen, 请阅读下面网站,对犹太系西方宗教有一定感性认识。 (基督,天主,新,东正,犹太,穆斯林,等) 这些宗教的共同特征是-野蛮,偏狭,暴力,固执,愚昧,种族歧视,种族隔离。

Anonymous said...

Why people don't post their messages in the right place?

Johan said...

You know what being ignorant mean? It characterises a person who disregard the enormous range of beliefs and practises all those religions mentioned represents. It characterises a person who disregards the difference those religions would be practised in different countries and cultures. It characterizes a person who fail to recognize how those religions also have changed during history.

There are a lot of racially mixed churches in the USA. In the rest of the world as well. I believe that most churches represent how the society looks like, including the segregation aspect.

Christians, like all people, are good and bad. They are people in other words. Or do you believe there is some divine influence that alters their nature?

I don't mind talking about religion, but your simplistic nonsens is worthless and boring.

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