February 25th, 2007
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Whistler's Girl in White, public domain image from wikipedia.
There seems to be more emotive language flying around the world of Chinese adoption lately.

Like this Asia Times article on China’s Lost Girls:

Whether the new rules for foreign adoptions are truly intended to safeguard the adopted children or, rather, to change what Beijing perceives as the demeaning image of China as America’s favorite orphanage, many would-be mothers and fathers now fear they will be left out in the childless cold. They also wonder how many abandoned Chinese children will be left to fend for themselves in orphanages whose existence Beijing does not even officially acknowledge.

As China becomes wealthier and domestic adoptions rise, the [CCAA] director maintains, stricter requirements on foreign adoptions are simply a product of supply and demand. But international observers, again citing State Department figures, ask: Why have the tighter rules been announced after US adoptions, still the largest in China, declined by 18% last year? Where is the proof of a corresponding rise in domestic adoptions or decline in orphans?

The fact is that in the murky world of Chinese orphanages, it’s hard to see the true picture.

True enough… but:

What’s the truth? Where are all the lost girls – dead or alive? Nobody really knows. But Russell isn’t the only adoptive parent who suspects that a lot of them are wallowing in orphanages.

Anyone who has spent time in China’s orphanages will tell you that they are full of unwanted girls. Indeed, according to one Hong Kong-based teacher who organizes an outreach program to an orphanage in Guangdong province, any child who is not a girl is likely to be physically or mentally handicapped.

I really hope Daughter doesn’t find this when she’s old enough to use it to torture her little brother. Who seems to be a little too robust for his own good….

And then there’s a new PR release from activist author and, er, marketer Talia Carner on “Gendercide”:

Business and Professional Women International (BPWI) has selected Talia Carner, author of “Puppet Child” and “China Doll” and human rights advocate to be a guest speaker at the 51st session of The NGO UN Committee on the Status of Women on March 5th, 2007 in New York City. The topic of Ms. Carner’s presentation is “Gendercide In China–Time to Break The Silence.”

“Efforts to improve women’s economic participation typically begin when women are old enough to work,” said Chonchanok Viravan, BPW International President. “Attention must be focused on a problem that upsets the balance of women’s economic participation at the earliest stage in life—the infanticide of baby girls. This problem is the extreme form of violation of the basic human rights—to live. Talia’s extensive research and analysis of the issue, and her work as both an advocate and a novelist make her uniquely prepared to direct the spotlight onto this subject.”

I’ve previously expressed, well, not skepticism exactly, but something similiar about the issue of widespread infanticide. It’s a pretty serious thing to be accusing a culture of.

Which is not to say it’s not happening.

So it’ll be interesting to see what else comes out of the UN Committee on the Status of Women conference — where Carner is presenting — over the next few weeks. Theme of this year’s session: ending discrimination and violence against girl children.

One Response to “UN Committees, Lost Girls & “Gendercide””

  1. AuthorTalia says:

    Regarding your skepticism about infanticide in China:

    With China blocking access to information and with major organizations–Human rights Watch, Amnesty, World Health Organization, U.S.State Department–all acknowledging infanticide in China with merely a nod, it has not been easy to ascertain the facts. Many of the white spaces pose critical questions, but extrapolating the figures of 1.7 “missing” girls in China each year was not a problem.

    Highly-trained in statistics and research (your comment about my being a marketer is correct), I have investigated the subject and even hired Chinese-language statisticians to help me with the research.

    You can now view my Power Point presentation about gendercide delivered March 5, 2007 at the U.N. at http://www.bpw-international.org/pdf/activities-UN-workshop-GENDERCIDE__IN__CHINA-march2007.pdf

    Oh,yes. You may want to read my novel, CHINA DOLL, which celebrates the bond between an adoptive parent and a baby while shedding light on the tragedy of discarded lives in China.


    Talia Carner

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