CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Beijing Follies: Why Australia Should Not Go

Sep 2, 1995

In a few days around 40,000 delegates will arrive in China to attend the World Conference on Women to be held in Beijing. The conference, to be held from September 4 to 15, is already creating quite a stir, for two major reasons. And these two reasons should suffice to make Australia rethink sending a delegation in the first place

Firstly, the country selected is hardly a suitable venue for a conference on women’s rights, let alone human rights in general.  With the images of Tiananmen Square still fresh in our minds, a New York-based group called Human Rights in China has just issued a report which describes the condition of women in China today. It says that women are kidnapped and sold into slavery, are subject to forced abortions and sterilisations, and work in conditions of violence, discrimination and fear. Female infanticide is also widespread. Why hold a women’s conference in a country that treats women so poorly?

Indeed, many have long known of China’s poor track record concerning human rights. While people like Ross Terrill were lauding Mao and the Cultural Revolution, others, like Steven Mosher were chronicling the real conditions in Communist China, as in his 1983 study, Broken Earth. More recently Mosher has written another book, A Mother’s Ordeal, describing China’s one-child policy. This policy has resulted in tremendous suffering, especially for women. Not only is infanticide routinely practised, mainly against female babies, but as abortion became compulsory for any couple who already had one child, the practice emerged of couples killing an older daughter when they discovered they had a male child in the womb.

These practices have taken their toll. Whereas a normal population produces 105.5 baby girls for every 100 baby boys, the ratio in China is now 118.5 boys to every 100 girls. That means 1.7 million girls go missing every year.

Other barbarisms can be mentioned. A number of witnesses have testified that the Chinese government is satisfying its need for hard cash by executing young prisoners and then “harvesting” their organs while the bodies are still warm. The organs are then sold at black-market prices to Westerners eager to obtain them.

Another practice is the selling of human fetuses as a delicacy in Chinese restaurants. The unborn human beings are featured on menus not only for taste, but are considered to be a health tonic that can improve the complexion and promote general health.

If these repulsive practices were not enough to dissuade us from attending the conference, what about the actual program of the conference? Put simply, the proposed program is political dynamite. A document, called the draft Platform for Action, was hammered out at a preparatory committee meeting in New York in March and April. The 121 page document makes one thing quite clear: this conference will not be a conference by, for and about women, at least not ordinary women. Instead, the conference will feature a coalition of feminists and lesbians who wish to radically redefine the nature of gender, marriage, family and personhood. Consider the following proposals:

–In the draft document to be presented in Beijing, the word “gender” has been radically redefined. The term will now have five meanings: male, female, homosexual, bisexual and transsexual. One writer put it this way: “Although many people think that men and women are the natural expression of a genetic blueprint, gender is a product of human thought and culture, a social construction that creates the ‘true nature’ of all individuals.”

–Sec. 63 and Sec. 66 require all nations to “create a gender-sensitive educational system” and mandates “curricula, textbooks, and teaching aids free of [traditional] sex-stereotypes.” Verbal engineering, in other words, must precede social engineering. So long Thomas the Tank Engine, The Wind in the Willows, Shakespeare, the Bible and countless other Politically Incorrect pieces of literature.

–Sec. 81 calls on governments to “reinforce laws . . . that . . . compel men and boys . . . to share equally in child care and household maintenance.” I for one quite enjoy helping out in the home, but will not do so at the point of a gun. Such totalitarian implications are an alarming feature of this document.

–Throughout the document the “right” to abortion is demanded and defended. Value free sex education for “pre-adolescent” children is also demanded. However, many experts now agree that 30 years of value free sex ed have only compounded the problems of promiscuity, teen pregnancies and abortion.

–Sec. 89 declares: “Most of the violence against women and girls occurs in the family, where violence is often tolerated and encouraged.” Of course, most everything takes place in the home, whether eating, sleeping or chewing gum, simply because most people spend a majority of their time there.

But this quote is wrong for another reason: the kind of family strongly determines when and where violence takes place. As Human Rights Commissioner Brian Burdekin pointed out, there is a 600% greater chance of a girl being abused if the father is a non-biological father. Moreover, most violence against women and children takes place in broken homes or in de facto situations. In other words, marriage and the traditional family are the best guarantee of the safety of women and children.

–The document also calls for radical plans to reduce population growth. We know that China subjects women to forced sterilisation and forced abortions to achieve this goal. The UN has given China a special award and praised the Communist nation as having the most “effective” population control program in the world. And the World Bank is committed to providing the financial backing to implement the Beijing Platform for Action. The clear message, as one Guatemala delegate to New York put it, is that “countries will be rewarded with loans and assistance, or most-favored-nation status, if they implement similar coercive population control programs.”

–The US delegation to the conference, including feminists like Bella Abzug, is targeting “fundamentalist” religions as a barrier to women’s rights and demands that religions be “reinterpreted.”

The list goes on and on. This is a document that refuses to talk about marriage or family, except in the context of gay marriage and gay families. Marriage and family are viewed as oppressive and restrictive institutions, while men are seen as redundant at best. Indeed, the word “husband” does not even appear in the document, and the word “mother” appears only once. The vague word “gender” appears 163 times.

As one commentator put it, women are viewed as “completely isolated from nature – the family, motherhood, and a complimentary relationship with her husband within a stable marriage. Instead, the relationship between men and women is seen as a power struggle in which men are constantly oppressing women and denying them their rights – the pre-eminent of which are sexual and reproductive rights, code words for sexual license and abortion.”

A delegate to the New York meeting from Honduras said this: “Radical feminists have insinuated their hidden agenda into all the United Nations documents for Beijing… The specific objectives of this feminist revolution . . . culminate in a utopian vision of a new and sexless world in which lesbianism and homosexuality are on an equal footing with marriage.”

How the conference will pan out remains to be seen. While lesbian and feminist delegates are being admitted in droves, pro-life and pro-family delegates are having a very hard time being accepted. Indeed, many of these pro-family groups have been blacklisted. Deck-stacking, in other words, may result in a pre-determined outcome.

This conference is the latest in a line of UN conferences (Cairo, Copenhagen, etc.), which can best be described as anti-family and anti-life. The UN has not had a good track record in dealing with the world’s trouble spots: Rwanda, Bosnia, etc. Now it wants to interfere in even more basic spheres of life: gender, marriage and family. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the UN, perhaps in 2045 we can celebrate the 50th anniversary of when the UN was put out of its misery. The sooner the better.

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