When I went spent three weeks in China more than 25 years ago, it was a very different China from the one we see in the news today. Nothing remotely western at all. Not so much as one "western" restaurant or even a decent public toilet. There was poverty and oppression like I'd never seen before. More than one person came up to some of us in our college tour group and quietly asked for Bibles and film. It was quite an eye-opening experience for a young person used to freedom and comfort.
But even back in 1984, China's one-child policy was as much a point of consternation as it is today. Our tour guides (on the down-low, of course) told us about its problems and perils. They knew then what was to come but were powerless to do anything because they didn't have the freedom to make their own choices. And they knew plenty of people who had made horrible, unthinkable choices in an effort to produce the one child that could benefit them the most down the road -- a son.
So what could possibly have been going through Vice President Joe Biden's mind when he came out and said: “Your policy has been one which I fully understand—I’m not second-guessing—of one child per family.”
Not second guessing a government's prerogative to tell a woman she cannot have a child? It's unthinkable that a U.S. vice president would say such a thing. But here it is, from the VP's mouth, according to an ABC News story:
Addressing social and budgetary challenges faced by the U.S. and China in the wake of respective population booms, Biden told his audience, “Your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I’m not second-guessing -- of one child per family.”Read the full story HERE.
But, Biden continued, the policy leaves Chinese families "in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people."
"Not sustainable,” he said. “So hopefully we can act in a way on a problem that's much less severe than yours, and maybe we can learn together from how we can do that.”
The Chinese government enforces its one-child policy with fines, mandatory abortions and forced sterilizations of women who are found to have violated the law. It is roundly criticized by human rights groups and governments around the world.