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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Like White on Rice | Forced Abortion Fiction

republican congressmen joe pitts and chris smith
Republican Congressmen Joe Pitts and Chris Smith

Last Tuesday Republican Congressmen Joe Pitts and Chris Smith issued a news release regarding Arzigul Tursun, an Uyghur Chinese woman rescued in the nick of time by their efforts from the forced abortion of her third child by Chinese authorities.

Excuse me for being skeptical.

First, Arzigul Tursun is the name of "one of the leading Uyghur pop musicians from Kashgar, Xinjiang." You can watch the video from her latest album, Gulyarla, on the YouTube.



Second, we've been down this road before. In 1995 Representative Chris Smith testified before Congress.
Not only do these human rights problems get worse every single month that we continue to truckle to China, but they keep discovering new horrors. ...there are even some credible reports that late-term unborn children are actually being consumed as a new health food.
At the time Congressman Chris Smith was Co-Chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus.

The rumors of the Chinese eating fetuses coincided with the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing. Rev. Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, bought the story writing in his August 1995 newsletter,
If [capital punishment] isn't enough to turn one's stomach, consider this: According to World... human fetuses have begun to appear on menus of Chinese restaurants as a delicacy and health tonic.
The source for the Chinese fetus eating story was a piece written by Bruce Gilley for a defunct Chinese tabloid, Eastern Express. I researched and discredited the story in Eating Fetuses: The lurid Christian fantasy of godless Chinese eating "unborn children".

The sensational story of Arzigul Tarsun shares many of the same elements of the Chinese fetus eating story. Though at least one report lists its source as the AP, searches at the AP site yield no results. The only other source is a Radio Free Asia report.

According to Wikipedia, Radio Free Asia "is a private radio station funded by the United States Congress that broadcasts in nine Asian languages." Radio Free Asia is Representative Chris Smith's baby, so to speak. According to a report on Smith's site, he "authored the law to authorize Radio Free Asia to broadcast 24 hours daily." Criticism of Radio Free Asia includes the following, from Wikipedia.
Catharin Dalpino of the Brookings Institution, who served in the Clinton State Department as a deputy assistant secretary deputy for human rights, has called Radio Free Asia "a waste of money." "Wherever we feel there is an ideological enemy, we're going to have a Radio Free Something," she says. Dalpino said she has reviewed scripts of Radio Free Asia's broadcasts and views the station's reporting as unbalanced. "They lean very heavily on reports by and about dissidents in exile. It doesn't sound like reporting about what's going in a country. Often, it reads like a textbook on democracy, which is fine, but even to an American it's rather propagandistic."
Christian conservatives are swallowing the Chinese forced abortion story in the same way they swallowed the Chinese fetus eating story - whole. The Family Research Council, World Magazine, The Christian Post, and a host of others have reprinted the story.

In 1995 Chris Smith and his anti-abortion minions were going after the gals getting together in China, for the Fourth World Conference on Women. Today they're going after UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. According to its site, UNFPA is
an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.
The Bush administration withheld funds from UNPFA and in 2003 diverted $34 million from China due to claims of forced abortions. Greg Barnes, of Australia's Mercury wrote,
Bush justified his cruel decision on the fact that China would use the funds for coercive abortion and forced sterilization, despite his own fact-finding mission turning up no evidence that the UN had ever participated in such programs.
The Bush administration had withheld funds from any organization that counseled abortion as an alternative to women. The Washington Post recently reported that,
The new president is also expected to lift a so-called global gag rule barring international family planning groups that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion, even in countries where the procedure is legal, said Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, he rescinded the Reagan-era regulation, known as the Mexico City policy, but Bush reimposed it.
UNFPA and Arzigul Tursun seem made for each other. The Family Research Council alerted its subscribers last week in its sensational post, Reinstating UNFPA -- Over China's Dead Bodies
Newspapers from cities as far away as Melbourne, Australia are anxiously awaiting word on a Uyghur woman in China, six months pregnant with her third child. According to local reports, government officials tracked Arzigul Tursun down in her village and escorted her to a hospital where authorities ordered her to abort the baby against her will. Although guards had been stationed at the hospital, Arzigul managed to escape. After the police interrogated her family, the mother-to-be was recaptured yesterday in the home of some relatives. Her plight has sparked outrage in the international community, which is demanding her release.

In the past, the U.S. government -- at President Bush's insistence -- has withheld funding from groups like the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) for its supporting role in these coercive abortion policies. President-elect Obama has said he will restore U.S. funding to UNFPA. America will no longer be an innocent bystander of tragedies like this one. Instead, the U.S. will be knowingly funding forced abortions like Arzigul's with millions of taxpayer dollars. In an interview with the Obama campaign before the election, RH Reality check asked, "If elected President, would Sen. Obama, overturn the Global Gag Rule or reinstate funding for UNFPA?" A spokesman for the campaign responded, "Yes, Senator Obama would overturn the global gag rule and reinstate funding for UNFPA."

The new administration plans to funnel millions of dollars to UNFPA despite its support of China's savage one-child policy. Contact your leaders and tell them that terrorizing pregnant women is not the "change" America voted for. Urge them to oppose Obama's anti-woman agenda.
What better way to engender sympathy for an issue than to give it a human face - especially one that cannot be verified. Make it a face from a Kazakhstani border town, add an arrest and a dramatic escape, a government hunt and two courageous, old, white congressmen saving the day. Parts of the story might be true, but chances are we'll never hear of Arzigul Tursun again, unless she releases another single on YouTube.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I'm very pro-choice, and I also do not agree with efforts to hinder the UNFPA's work, but you are wrong on this story. Arzigul Tursun does exist- both Arzigul and Tursun are both very common names among Uyghurs. I am a human rights activist, and several people very close to me spoke to Arzigul, her husband, and others close to her.

If only forced abortions and sterilizations among Uyghur women WERE fiction, and not a common occurrence. Sadly, the reality is that the state controls Uyghur women's bodies.

Please do not discount this story only because it is manipulated by people with their own political agendas. You are only doing a disservice to women who have no say into whether or not the state cuts them open.

By the way, here are several other links on Arzigul's case that you may be interested in:

Feminist Majority Foundation: http://www.feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=11391
Associated Press:
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/11/14/20081114chinaabortion14-on.html
Reuters: http://www.kansascity.com/news/nation/story/891558.html
UPI:
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/11/17/Chinese_woman_faces_forced_abortion/UPI-17951226972733/
ABC News:
http://www.abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=6278827&page=1
Human Rights in China: http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/press?revision%5fid=77281&item%5fid=77030

Miss Poppy Hussein Dixon said...

All of the links you gave ultimately quote Radio Free Asia and McClatchy Newspapers - I traced them all. If you search at AP or McClatchy, however, you get no results for the story.

-----
FMF - AP, via AZ Central, which quotes the Uyghur Human Rights Project which quotes Radio Free Asia
Reuters - via KansasCity.com, quoting McClatchy Newspapers
UPI and ABC - quote Uyghur Human Rights Project, which quotes Radio Free Asia
-----

I'm not arguing that China isn't doing bad things, but that Chris Smith is a racist who is not above making up a story, in part or in whole, to make sure that women have no rights to their own bodies and health.

It's too bad this story cannot be verified by a legitimate source. It's also too bad that the plight of these women is not addressed outside of right wing Christian efforts to reduce rights for all women.