The Olympics have been in the news this week with the dowsing of the Olympic torch in paris followed by the massive demonstrations in San Francisco earlier in the week. All of the protests revolve around the fact that China has a terrible human rights record. Protestors feel that as a result, at the very least certain nations ought not to attend the opening ceremonies, and at the most China ought to lose the Olympics.
It is true that China's human rights history is abysmal. As I listened to the radio this week and caught interviews with various protestors, I came up with this comprehensive list of the top reasons why these people are out there protesting China's human rights problems:
1) Chinese suppression of Tibet and the Tibetans aspirations for autonomy.
2) China's steadfast but unpopular support for the Sudanese government in the Darfur crisis.
3) China's repression of intellectuals within China and its censorship of Internet access.
4) It's persecution of the ethnic Hmong minority.
5) China's support for the repressive military regime in Burma.
Well, if we are talking about human rights abuses, did anybody notice a glaring omission in this list? Out of all the interviews and articles I looked at on this, not a single person mentioned China's horrendous one-child policy and their barbaric practice of forced abortion. China's own government estimates that it has aborted 250 million children since the instituion of the one child policy in 1979 (they use the phrase "prevented births"). It is unknown how many of these abortions are forced, but the stories of women being forcibly dragged to abortion clinics are many. A recent photo smuggled out of China, which showed a still-warm corpse of a dead female infant lying in a gutter in Hunan province, caused outrage around the world. Note on the below map, that in China's most populated areas, almost 50% of all pregnancies end in abortion.
However, none of the protesters have made an issue out of this most obvious and fundamental of all human rights abuses. Why? I'm not sure, but I looking at the other grievances (Darfur and Tibet), I see that they are issues that liberals tend to take up, and liberals certainly are not going to get out in the street about Chinese abortion. It is classic liberal mentality to get outraged about the oppressed Hmong of China but not care about the oppressed Christians of Turkey. They can enthusiastically wave "Free Tibet" signs but would balk and the demand to "Free Constantinople."
Unless people, of any political stripe, are willing to call China on the carpet for its barbaric abortion policies, then any other gripes about human rights abuses are farcical and hypocritical.