Reggie Littlejohn is the founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, an international coalition that opposes forced abortion, gendercide and sexual slavery in China. Littlejohn has represented Chinese refugees seeking political asylum and has testified before U.S. Congress and the European Parliament, as well as British and Irish parliaments.
Our Sunday Visitor: Could you explain how Women’s Rights Without Frontiers is trying to draw attention to the one-child policy in China and the connection to the Chinese Communist Party?
Reggie Littlejohn: In the beginning, when the one-child policy was first instituted in 1979-1980, it was the Mao era, and China was arguably experiencing a population explosion. The average fertility rate was about six children per woman. When Mao died, and the Deng era arose, they felt that they had a population explosion on their hands. Consequently they instituted the draconian one-child policy. The fertility rate has now fallen to about 1.5 children per woman, which is well below the replacement level of 2.1.
There are two demographic problems caused by the one- child policy. In the first place, we have all the people born during the Mao era now headed toward retirement. I call this “China’s senior tsunami.” The other demographic problem is the imbalance that is driving human trafficking and sexual slavery.
OSV: Why do you think the Chinese government persists in keeping the one-child policy?
Littlejohn: The policy started as a measure to control the population, in terms of the numbers. Now, however, it has changed to become a “cause of control,” a way to keep the population in terror. It is a way for the Chinese Communist Party to exercise their control and to say, “We have power over you, our arm extends from Beijing, into every single womb in the nation of China and we are the ones to declare life or death over the baby in that womb.”
OSV: What steps has the organization taken since it was founded?
Littlejohn: Chen Guangchen, the blind activist who was jailed because of his incredible bravery to challenge forced abortion in his area, exposed the fact that there were 130,000 forced abortions and forced sterilizations just in his city in one year, 2005. WRWF laid down the foundation for the international effort to free Chen Guangchen.
Last year, a Chinese woman named Feng Jianmei was forcibly caused to abort her child at seven months. Women’s Rights Without Frontiers broke the news of her case to the West. The European Parliament passed a resolution condemning forced abortions in China, specifically citing the case of Feng Jianmei. It also called into question the money that they’ve been giving to China for population control through the U.N. Population Fund and the International Planned Parenthood, seeking assurance that this money is not being used for coercion and population control.
OSV: You recently participated in a new documentary titled “It’s a Girl.” Could you describe some of the main truths contained in this documentary?
Littlejohn: China has a traditional preference for boys, while girls are selectively targeted for abortion. This is called gendercide. There are about 37 million more males living in China than females. This is also driving human trafficking and sexual slavery not only within China, but also from within the surrounding countries. In addition, China has the highest female suicide rate of any country in the world. According to the World Health Organization, 500 women a day take their life in China.
OSV: Does Women’s Rights without Frontiers find support among organizations that claim to defend women’s rights?
Littlejohn: We have not received any help from any women’s rights organizations. If an organization says that they stand for “choice,” they need to take a stand against forced abortion. If they stand for women’s rights, they have to take a stand against the sex-selective abortions of baby girls. If they stand for women’s reproductive health, then they have to take a stand against forced abortions. These women are being butchered, and are ruining not only their reproductive health but also their general health.
Jennifer Guarnizo writes from Rome.