Liberal Columnist Kirsten Powers Slams Biden ‘One-Child’ Remark

Posted on Fri 08/26/2011 by


By Ken Shepherd

Joe Biden’s recent remark in which he said he “fully understand[s]” China’s reasons for their 32-year-old one-child policy is an absolutely “appalling statement coming from an American leader.”

“What’s next? Will he say he isn’t ‘second-guessing’ and ‘fully understands’ that women are stoned for adultery in Iran?”

Who said that? Michele Bachmann? Sarah Palin? Rick Santorum? Nope. Former Democratic strategist and political columnist Kirsten Powers in a post at the Daily Beast yesterday.

Here’s more from Powers (emphasis mine):

When various Republican presidential candidates blasted Biden for the statement, NPR’s blog ran a story titled “Biden’s Comment on China’s One-Child Policy Spurs Anti-Abortion Ire.” This really misses the point. The media predictably frame this issue as “pro-choice vs. pro-life” when in fact it is a major human-rights issue. In particular, it’s a women’s-rights issue, which makes the silence from feminists and liberals about Biden’s comment particularly disturbing.

Reggie Littlejohn, an American attorney who founded Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, told a reporter, “China’s one-child policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other policy on earth, than any official policy in the history of the world.”

The evil ripple effects for girls of China’s gendercide are astonishing. Because of the dearth of wives, Ling says that trafficking of child brides is epidemic. She told Congress in June that “this is the kidnapping and selling of toddler girls to be raised as slaves. Today in China, 200,000 children a year, usually from poor families, are seized or sold as child brides.” Similarly, sex trafficking is exploding to “service” the overwhelming male population. Ling says girls from surrounding countries are kidnapped or lured under false pretenses and forced to work in brothels.

The “one-child” policy is a barbaric practice aimed squarely at women and has had the effect of wiping out generations of girls. If this isn’t a top women’s-rights issue in the world, I don’t know what is. And it’s not just limited to China. When Biden says he isn’t “second-guessing” the one-child policy, he is sending a frightening message to other countries, like India, where sex-selective abortions are epidemic in a country that places little value on girls.


If a television story can influence the Chinese government, imagine the impact of comments by an American vice president.

Biden has backed away from the remarks. In a statement, his press secretary said: “The Obama administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization. The vice president believes such practices are repugnant. He also pointed out, in China, that the policy is, as a practical matter, unsustainable.”

Yes, he argued it was unsustainable because of the economic burden of having too few young people to support an aging population. Why can he confront the Chinese on economic policies but not human-rights violations? Furthermore, a statement from a spokesman (which, incidentally, is diametrically opposed to what he actually said) is not the same thing as a public comment by Biden. Which one do you think China is listening to?

Chai Ling told me, “Sept. 23 is the 31st anniversary of the start of China’s one-child policy. Vice President Biden should come out on that day and redeem himself by calling on China to end this policy now.”

Kudos to Powers for taking on Biden, and the liberal media, on an issue that should be of concern to Americans across the political spectrum.

Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters.

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