On March 16, 2013, Edison, New Jersey’s Visionary Lions Club organized the “2013 International Women’s Day Celebration.” Those in attendance included Edison mayor Antonia Ricigliano, New Jersey senator and Democratic Party candidate for governor Barbara Buono, and eminent female lawyers, while a group of girls put on a dance performance. The documentary film “It’s a Girl”, a film documenting the misfortunes of baby girls born in India and China, was shown at the gathering. Women’s Rights in China founder Zhang Qing was invited to deliver a keynote speech entitled ” China’s Family Planning Policy Exacerbates the Male-to-Female Ratio Gap” and received a medal and award in recognition of her tireless efforts and contributions toward protecting women’s and children’s rights over the past several years. This was an expression of recognition and encouragement towards Zhang Jing and Women’s Rights in China.
In 2011, US nonprofit organization Shadowline Films filmed the documentary film “It’s a Girl” with the assistance of Zhang Jing and Women’s Rights in China volunteers. The film documents the dual oppression and suffering of Chinese women and children under traditional patriarchal culture and coercive family planning policies. The film was released last year in various educational institutes and social strata across the United States and other countries, inciting a great reaction.
Jing Zhang stated that in the “It’s a Girl” documentary we see many similarities between the traditional cultures of female infanticide in India and China. We also see that ignorance, backwardness, and cultural dross leads to the arbitrary deprivation of many girls’ birthrights, so that a girl’s life may be threatened or violated at any time. The difference between China and India at this stage is that the One Child Policy implemented by the Chinese government more greatly intensifies the harm done to women and exacerbates the great disparity in the male-to-female ratio. China scholars assert that the data for the male-female birth ratio is 119:100, while the data from field surveys done by Women’s Rights in China in a number of rural areas is 125~135:100. That is to say, in the next 20 years, at least 40 million Chinese men will be unable to find a wife and must remain bachelors. This issue will severely affect the stability of social and family structures and will simultaneously effect the economies and security of neighboring countries. Forty million single bachelors could even directly threaten world peace.
Jing Zhang introduced the causes behind the sharp decrease in the number of Chinese girls in rural areas, including the trade and drowning of female babies during the 80’s and 90’s and the currently popular fetal gender identification via B-mode ultrasound, which have in turn led to a large-scale gender imbalance.
Jing Zhang proposed that due to China’s strict One Child Policy and the increase in demand for the child trade market, child trafficking has become a human trafficker’s easiest route to making money. Add to this the allure of high prices paid by adoptive families from Europe and the United States (generally, the full adoption process costs between 30,000-50,000 USD), and the child trade becomes all the more common and all the more severe. In 2011, the exposure of “the Shao clan orphans” case received the broad attention of Chinese and international media. Because they did not have did not have a birth license and were born as “illegal” children, the children of namely rural families were sent to the Shaoyang City Social Welfare Institute (an orphanage) in Hunan province in exchange for a fine. The vast majority of these children were female and sold at high prices to international adoptive families through the orphanage. We know at least seven “Shao clan orphans” with natural [living] parents have since been adopted by American families.
While showing the documentary “It’s a Girl”, the tragic story of these women moved many to tears and the sound of sobbing filled the audience.