By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
George B. High, acting director of the Office of Asylum Affairs, Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the State Department, wrote the judge on July 29 regarding Lu's application: "With respect to fines, in cases where couples exceed a stipulated limit of children, our officers found that payment of fines ranging from 1,000 RMB to 3,000 RMB was standard. Arranging documentation and fares to travel to the United States would have been much more expensive. We do not rule out that a couple may be pressed to have one of them undergo a sterilization procedure. However, for your information, we have noted a pattern in many asylum applications based on China's population policy of claims that the wife was too ill to be sterilized, prompting the husband's fear of sterilization and his flight to the U.S."
The State Department may well be hearing such claims because the Communists have confronted the very real problem of overpopulation with draconian zealotry. Washington, D.C., bureaucrats should not be surprised; none of this is new business.
In 1988 a Chinese student, Li Quan Bang, pursuing an advanced degree in engineering in Phoenix, panicked when the Beijing government demanded that he and his pregnant wife return to China for an abortion. The wife, seven months into her pregnancy, learned that her elderly mother was being threatened nightly by government agents.
"My poor mother-in-law could not eat or sleep for worry over what they would do if we returned with a second child," said Bang.
"Her blood pressure was up and she was having severe headaches. We were afraid she would have a stroke."
The factory that had granted Bang's wife a leave to join her husband while he studied in Arizona wrote to the couple saying that the government had threatened reprisals against all of the employees in the ball-bearing plant if she did not return for an abortion.
The final letter to the couple summed up matters concisely: "Have you received our last express-mail letter? Have you taken any action as a result? The factory officials are anxious to know whether you have done as ordered. The punishment for this violation is very severe.
"If you cannot have this abortion done abroad, then the factory director orders you to return to China immediately. Any further delays and you will be punished according to the law.
"There is nothing ambiguous about our order! Make up your mind immediately!
"To your health!"
The official letters and the threats did not move Bush's State Department, which rejected the Bangs' application for asylum. The couple was allowed to remain in Arizona only after congressman Jon Kyl became interested in their plight and raised hell. That was four years ago.
Currently, the State Department has opposed asylum for all 112 Chinese apprehended in Hawaii; Bush's official position on the political and social unrest in China has been to support the Communist rulers. China, you see, represents a potential market of one billion consumers for American products. The debate over students crushed by tanks and parents forced into abortions and sterilizations is not free of economic consideration.
This country cannot absorb all of China's population problems. But the State Department is not arguing that these refugees are exceeding quotas. They argue that these people are not worthy of asylum. Surely there is a better standard. Our government already admits Chinese immigrants if they are millionaires whose investments can create ten jobs in the United States. Fair enough. The 112 peasants have promises of employment within the Chinese community of New York. If they have sponsors, if they have jobs, why are we sending them back?
After Zemin's first child, the government fitted his wife with an IUD. The couple paid a private doctor to remove the device. The government's abortionists came for his wife when she was eight months' pregnant. In the ensuing melee, Zemin's wife escaped to the distant home of relatives, but Zemin himself was beaten so savagely that he was left totally deaf in one ear and with only partial hearing in the other.
"My family and me left my home for eight years," explained Zemin. "In June of 1991, I thought it such a long time, everything should be fine, so I returned. On June 15, the government [workers] came to my house. They want to catch me and fine me. But I don't have much money. So they want to put me in jail. I run away. The government knock down my house. I have no place to live."
Jiaqi's story is worse. He said the Chinese government sterilized him after he and his wife exceeded the one-child-per-family limit. Immigration officers thought he was lying, so they pulled his pants down and spread-eagled him to inspect his crotch. With more efficiency than sensitivity, the INS reasoned that a female doctor could handle Jiaqi's testicles as well as any man. Apparently, no shred of dignity is beneath clumsy, bureaucratic insult.
The doctor could not decide what she was looking at. She wrote to the court: "Physical examination revealed no likely surgical scar on the scrotum, which may be due to the redundant scrotal sac with its many folds which may obviate the minute surgical cuts routinely used in vasectomies."