Tessa Dale : Mar 10, 2011 All Girls Allowed
"I thank God for these steps forward. However, we can't overlook the fact that progress was only made for women who made it through alive." -Chai Ling
(Washington, DC)—On March 7, at a press conference addressing China's abysmal women's rights record for the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day, Chai Ling, founder of All Girls Allowed, reminded Americans that while foot binding was abolished in the last 100 years, heart and minds of China's women are still bound by fear and oppression.
All Girls Allowed (AGA) was founded by Chai Ling, two-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and former chief student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square Democracy Movement. Chai Ling's full speech is attached below:
Thank you, Congressman Smith—for your tireless effort and consistent voice for women's rights worldwide, especially in China. Thank you friends, for sharing our message as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Women's Day.
The past century has truly brought about progressive change for women in China. The practice of female foot binding was abolished in the mid 1900's after tormenting women since 1010 AD. In 1920, China's women were accepted into Peking University, and soon entered many other schools. After the Qing Dynasty's end and the rise of the Communist Party, Mao encouraged women, saying that "women hold up half the sky." Today, we stand here with even greater hopes as we look towards 2011 and beyond.
My own family history parallels the progress made for women in China. My grandmother had bound feet and worked long, hard days in the field throughout most of her life. My mother was able to leave the countryside to enter medical school, and became a first generation female doctor in the Army. I was given opportunities to attend college and graduate school, and am now living the American Dream with freedom to become who God made me to be.
I thank God for these steps forward. However, we can't overlook the fact that progress was only made for women who made it through alive. There was no progress for the tens of millions of missing girls who would never attend college and who never had opportunity to play or run with unbound feet, nor pursue their dreams. The current crisis of gendercide in China is the largest crime against women in the history of China.
Since the initiation of the One-Child Policy on September 25, 1980, the female gender has been brutally murdered, aborted and abandoned at alarming and heartrending rates. One out of every six girls is being killed before birth, and therefore one out of every six men will not have a bride.
For women who survive birth, the gender imbalance in China is a great threat. The kidnapping and trafficking problem this imbalance has created enslaves women in fear and dread. The terror and reality of forced abortion and the pain of invasive forced sterilizations bind women's hearts with fear today. These bindings are much tighter than the bindings used on the feet of women. These are binding hearts, minds, bodies, families and communities!
Our prayer for the next 100 years is that all bindings will be removed. Life, value and dignity will be restored to girls and mothers. All children will be celebrated—brothers and sisters—for there will be a One Child Policy no more. Mothers will not be forced to choose between destruction of their homes or destruction of their unborn children. Fathers will cherish and love their little girls without added pressure, and fears will no longer enslave whole communities.
We have great faith that these prayers will be answered because of the story of Li. All Girls Allowed staff workers met Li when they were distributing Baby Shower Gifts to mothers in poor rural areas as encouragement and support for keeping baby girls.
Li was hiding from the authorities because she was pregnant with a third baby: another girl. She and her husband chose to not abort the baby and Li determined to give birth to her child and face the consequences. They named the little girl Siqi—"remember the miracle!" While the couple is now being fined for this birth, they remain committed to their girls until the day when justice will prevail.
Justice must prevail and will prevail. Today we join the members of Congress and Women's Rights defenders to appeal to the UN, Secretary Clinton and President Obama: Rise up defend women—End the One Child Policy in China.
We urge US businesses who are beneficiaries of the $45 billion trade deal with China to donate 1% of their profits to help orphans, women and girls in China;
We urge China and the U.S. to work together to create a win-win situation to end sex trafficking—inviting organizations such as International Justice Mission to help fight against trafficking; And we urge believers to join All Girls Allowed for 40 Days of Prayer for girls and mothers in China starting on March 9th, the day after the celebration of Women's Day.
Our work will not be done until gendercide is finished—until the day that girls are loved and welcomed!
Click on the link provided to find out more details about All Girls Allowed.