Rep. Smith: U.N. and China Exporting 'One-Child' Policy to Nigeria, Africa

June 2, 2011 - 5:05 PM

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.)

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) (CNSNews.com photo/Penny Starr)

Washington (CNSNews.com) – A U.S. congressman says the United Nations and China have been working hand-in-hand to spread China’s “One Child” population control policy to Africa and that recent comments by a top U.N. adviser calling on Nigeria to limit births to three children per family reflect that partnership.

Last week, after meeting with Nigeria’s new president, liberal economist Jeffrey Sachs told Agence France Presse (AFP): “I am really scared about population explosion in Nigeria. It is not healthy. Nigeria should work towards attaining a maximum of three children per family.”

Sachs is a special advisor to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, directs the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and is the author of The End of Poverty.

At a press conference on Wednesday,  Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) told CNSNews.com that this was not the first time a top U.N. adviser has pushed for population control in Nigeria. In fact, he said, the U.N. has been working with China to spread the population control message to Sub-Saharan Africa.

“I think two years ago the U.N. Population Fund and the State Family Planning Council of China invited the health ministers and other high officials of every sub-Saharan Africa (country) to Beijing for about a week,” Smith said during a Capitol Hill news conference.

“They gave them world-class hotel accommodations, and fed them the line that, ‘If you want economic growth, get rid of the children, follow China’s lead.’ And as our eminent demographers and scientists would tell you, it is a matter of when -- and not if --given the aging of the Chinese population that will begin in earnest in the very near future, that the economic miracle of China will quickly dissipate and become a nightmare,” Smith said.

Smith, who is the chairman of the Africa, Global Health and Human Rights subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said recent congressional hearings he conducted revealed the growing influence of China on world population control.

“Now we see they’re exporting the ‘one-child-per-couple’ mantra, which in Nigeria’s case or Rwanda’s case, to say may be two or three (children per couple),” Smith told CNSNews.com.

He stressed that restricting the number of people stunts a nation’s economic growth.

“The impact will be disastrous," said Smith. "If women decide they do not want to have children, that is their prerogative, but government stepping in and using the coercive power of the State to either incentivizing no children by putting penalties on as China does."

At the press conference, the congressman quoted a work by Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, entitled “The Pivot of Civilization,” which contains a chapter “The Cruelty of Charity”, in which Sanger asserts that  “is cruel to help and to assist an indigent woman (to) have a child because you get more of those useless breeders.”

“It is eugenist and racist to the core and yet that’s the mindset being exported by China to Nigeria," said Smith.  "Now UNFPA has at its helm Nigeria. So you can be sure that very anti-human rights policy of China will have additional favor because UNFPA has enabled it right from the beginning and now they are targeting Africa."

Nigeria is currently the most populated country in Africa. The United Nations has predicted that the population of Nigeria will climb from its current 160 million to 730 million by the year 2100. The data are taken from the United Nations Population Fund.

If the U.N. predictions are correct, Nigeria would become the third most populated country in the world behind India and China. According to data from the UNFPA, currently the average number of children per Nigerian household is four.

Kyu-Young Lee, media spokesperson for Sachs, told CNSNews.com: “Research has shown time and time again that economic growth is tied to population control. The two go hand-in-hand.”

According to Lee, the goal of the UNFPA is to raise the standard of living for impoverished nations. To reach this objective, a mind-set change must take place. A multi-pronged approach involving family planning measures and reproductive health awareness would be necessary.

Currently, more than 70 percent of Nigerians live below the international poverty line, according to the UNFPA.

Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, agreed with Smith that Sachs – a Nobel-nominated economist -- was trying to pressure Nigeria on behalf of the U.N.

“By bringing the weight of the U.N. to bear on Nigeria, Sachs is potentially contributing to a China-like situation, where the government will impose by force a limit on the number of children that couples can have, and impose this limit by forced abortions, forced sterilizations, and forced contraception,” Mosher said.

Mosher said Smith is correct that implementing a three-child-per-family limit would have disastrous effects for both Nigeria and the globe.

“It always starts being called voluntary, as did China’s, and very quickly matriculates into coercion, because in the end, women and men will want to build families. And then the government tells you how many,” Smith said.

“Neither the U.N., nor its special advisors, have any business encouraging countries to intervene in the personal decisions of their citizens whether or not to have children.  Couples have a fundamental right to determine for themselves the number and spacing of their children,” he added.

A transcript of CNSNews.com's exchange with Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) is presented below:

CNSNEWS.COM: "Jeffrey Sachs recommended that Nigeria adopt a three child per family maximum. Do you think Nigeria will accept this recommendation? If so, what do you think the effects will be?"

REP. CHRIS SMITH (R-N.J.): "I think two years ago the UN Population Fund and the State Family Planning Council of China invited the health ministers and other high officials of every sub-Saharan Africa (country) to Beijing for about a week. They gave them world class hotel accommodations, and fed them the line that if you want economic growth, get rid of the children, follow China’s lead. And as our imminent demographers and scientists would tell you, it is a matter of when and not if given the aging of the Chinese population that will begin in earnest in the very near future that the economic miracle of China will quickly dissipate and become a nightmare."

REP. SMITH: "But they are selling that (and I do chair the Global Human Rights Committee, which is also the Africa and Global Health Committee), we’ve held hearings on the influence of the Chinese form of governance and its dictatorship, and now we see they’re exporting the “one-child-per-couple” mantra, which in Nigeria’s case or Rwanda’s case, to say may be two or three (children per couple). The impact will be disastrous. If women decide they do not want to have children that is their prerogative, but government stepping in and using the coercive power of the State to either incentivizing no children by putting penalties on as China does. It always starts being called voluntary, as did China’s, and very quickly matriculates into coercion because in the end women and men will want to build families. And then the government tells you how many."

REP. SMITH: "And it all goes back, if you go back and read -- Margaret Sanger wrote a number of books and I’ve read most of them. One of them was called “Child Limitation,” in which she argues for one to two children per couple. Ted Turner recent said at a Global Climate Change Summit in Cancun, “We need a word of one-child-per couple policies just like China’s. Forgetting perhaps, not forgetting, that coercion is the only means to that end. And there was one book written by Margaret Sanger called “The Pivot of Civilization” and in chapter five, the chapter title is called, “The Cruelty of Charity.” And she argues that it is cruel to help and to assist an indigent woman have a child because you get more of those useless breeders. It is eugenist and racist to the core and yet that’s the mindset being exported by China to Nigeria. Now UNFPA has at its helm Nigeria. So you can be sure that very anti-human rights policy of China will have additional favor because UNFPA has enabled it right from the beginning and now they are targeting Africa."