Last spring we all saw what can happen to a movement when a video of it goes viral on YouTube. That was the Kony 2012 video, showing the atrocities committed by the Ugandan rebel and calling world attention to the need for his capture.
About three weeks ago the world was shocked not by a mass murderer but a 22-year-old Chinese woman who was simply trying to have a second baby, only to see that 7-month fetus aborted by the Chinese government.
The video of that aborted fetus was posted, and it has ignited a firestorm protest among Chinese over the government’s one-child-only policy. The video is all over the Web and several thousand viewers have already seen it and its clones on YouTube.
In the wake of that protest, the British newspaper The Telegraph, has noted: “An influential think-tank that advises China’s cabinet, called on authorities to consider ‘adjustments’ to the law and the introduction of a two-child policy ‘as soon as possible.’”
Ms. Feng had violated the Chinese government family planning rule, but the consequence shocked and saddened her deeply, and her relatives said enough is enough and posted pictures of the fetus online.
The Economist magazine describes the photo this way:
“In the photographs the young mother lies on a clinic bed, her hair obscuring her face. She appears as inert as the baby lying beside her. But 23-year-old Feng Jianmei is still alive, whereas her baby girl is not. The baby was killed while still in the womb by an injection arranged by local family-planning officials. They restrained Ms Feng, who was seven months pregnant, and then induced her to give birth to the dead baby.
“Even three years ago, Ms Feng’s suffering might have gone unnoticed outside the remote village in the north-western province of Shaanxi where she lives—just another statistic in China’s family-planning programme. But her relatives uploaded the graphic pictures onto the internet, and soon microblogs had flashed them to millions of people across the country. Chinese citizens expressed their outrage online. It is not just the treatment of Ms Feng that they deplore. It is the one-child policy itself.”
Concern over policy
Actually, many government advisers have been worried that the policy has too many negative side-effects, not just for families but for the country as a whole. They have felt that the government should change its one-child policy to stave off an impending shortage of workers as well as avoid issues arising from an aged population.
The country’s one-child policy, begun in 1979 under Deng Xiaoping, was started after a huge baby boom in the 1950s unleashed fears of an impending demographic crisis. The brakes went on the large population growth, and Chinese officials assert that about 400 million births have been prevented over the past 30 years.
Bad side effects
But the policy brought with it a slew of negative side effects, including a rise in sex-selective abortions and even infanticide as rural families sought to have male offspring. The country’s population is now male-heavy, and CNN recently reported that some 24 million eligible grooms will find themselves without a bride by the year 2020 because there just won’t be enough women to marry.
The fact that the widespread protest in China and around the world resulted from a viral video is another example of global outrages brought to life for millions of people, courtesy of the Internet. Chalk one up for the good guys.