Forced Sterilization, Birth Control, and Abortion Part of China’s Eugenic Discrimination against Uighurs

via the AP:

The Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, even as it encourages some of the country’s Han majority to have more children.

While individual women have spoken out before about forced birth control, the practice is far more widespread and systematic than previously known, according to an AP investigation based on government statistics, state documents and interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members and a former detention camp instructor. The campaign over the past four years in the far west region of Xinjiang is leading to what some experts are calling a form of “demographic genocide.”

The state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization and even abortion on hundreds of thousands, the interviews and data show. Even while the use of IUDs and sterilization has fallen nationwide, it is rising sharply in Xinjiang.

The population control measures are backed by mass detention both as a threat and as a punishment for failure to comply. Having too many children is a major reason people are sent to detention camps, the AP found, with the parents of three or more ripped away from their families unless they can pay huge fines. Police raid homes, terrifying parents as they search for hidden children….

Outside experts say the birth control campaign is part of a state-orchestrated assault on the Uighurs to purge them of their faith and identity and forcibly assimilate them. They’re subjected to political and religious re-education in camps and forced labor in factories, while their children are indoctrinated in orphanages. Uighurs, who are often but not always Muslim, are also tracked by a vast digital surveillance apparatus.

“The intention may not be to fully eliminate the Uighur population, but it will sharply diminish their vitality,” said Darren Byler, an expert on Uighurs at the University of Colorado. “It will make them easier to assimilate into the mainstream Chinese population.”

Some go a step further.

“It’s genocide, full stop. It’s not immediate, shocking, mass-killing on the spot type genocide, but it’s slow, painful, creeping genocide,” said Joanne Smith Finley, who works at Newcastle University in the U.K. “These are direct means of genetically reducing the Uighur population.”


NCR on ‘The Ethics of Encounter’

Kelly Stewart writes:

It is a truism, perhaps especially in left-leaning Catholic circles, that Catholic social teaching is the church’s best-kept secret. Marcus Mescher’s The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity seeks to bring this best-kept secret to the fore and make it accessible to U.S. Catholics. Mescher argues that Catholic social teaching offers invaluable resources for navigating contemporary social problems and building what he calls a “culture of encounter” in a country beset by individualism, social division and unjust hierarchy….

He argues that moral relativism and social separation make us unable to see one another, to communicate with one another, to be in solidarity with another, across lines of difference. Genuine encounter, guided by an expansive view of neighbor love and informed by Catholic social teaching, provides a way out of this impasse and toward a more just and connected society.

Yet Mescher argues that Catholic social teaching is too abstract for most people to know how to live what it teaches. While abstract principles — he names human rights, environmental stewardship, the preferential option for the poor and the notion of the common good — are strong, there is too little guidance as to how these principles can be applied in particular situations….

This is where an ethic of encounter comes in. The major purpose and the strength of The Ethics of Encounter is as a guidebook for Catholics to apply Catholic social teaching to their everyday lives. Mescher emphasizes the importance not simply of rules and principles, but of moral formation. Taking up virtue theory, he argues that we make ourselves into the sorts of people we want to be by behaving like the people we want to be: we become courageous, for example, by repeatedly performing acts of courage. The point is not just self-improvement for its own sake. The process of self-transformation shapes us to be the sorts of people who can also shape society.


Freedom is Not License. Wear a Mask.

At NCR, Mike Jordan Laskey  writes:

Many people who have resisted restrictive measures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus object to what they see as government overreach, causing an unjust curtailing of essential freedoms….

As a Catholic committed to the common good, these arguments drive me crazy. To me, it’s pretty straightforward: stay home as much as possible, wear a mask and practice social distancing to protect the lives of those who are most vulnerable to the virus….

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a lovely section on human freedom, believe it or not.

“The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes,” reads paragraph 1733. “There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just.”

That word “just” at the end of the passage catches my eye. Justice is all about strong, positive relationships between individual people and communities. Or, as philosopher and theologian Cornel West says, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Choices that show love for others — especially those who are most vulnerable — are instances of real freedom. On the other hand, choices rooted in a desire to do what I want, when I want it, without regard for how my decisions might impact others are not what freedom looks like….

The Catholic vision of freedom is countercultural in our individualistic, consumerist society. And it often feels like we cede the concept to those who argue that freedom is the liberty to do what you want. I think we should be proud of our own vision and proclaim it more boldly. It’s a compelling invitation to faith: God gave us this beautiful gift of free will and we have the privilege to use it to make the world better. It’s demanding of people, yes, but the sort of demand makes life meaningful.



Bernice King on Pope Francis, Her Father, and Living Together As Brothers and Sisters

via Vatican News:

L’Osservatore Romano and Vatican News interviewed Bernice Albertine King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. regarding her dedication to equality, the culture of peace and the value of nonviolence. A passionate human rights activist like her father, and president of the King Center in Atlanta, Bernice Albertine feels there is a strong sense of harmony between her father and Pope Francis whom she met with twice in 2018….

“I think that building a “revolution of tenderness,” as Pope Francis called it, or a “revolution of values,” as my father said, is contingent upon us realizing that there’s learning involved in the revolution. We have to learn more about each other, learn more about the condition of humanity, learn how to, as my father said, “live together as brothers and sisters,” so that we don’t perish together as fools, and learn a way of engaging and destroying injustice and inhumanity without destroying each other.”


Raymond Arroyo’s Defense of the Trail of Tears Ignores History

Embed from Getty Images
In a recent appearance on Fox News, Raymond Arroyo, EWTN’s news director and the host of The World Over, tried to justify the treatment of Native Americans during the “Trail of Tears”.  Arroyo—a frequent guest of Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program—made the outlandish claim that we should not criticize the way Andrew Jackson’s administration treated Native Americans because “this is how he held the country together. It was ugly, but those were the times. Take it all as it is, as it happened.”

Arroyo, like many who try to justify immoral and appalling actions that have occurred in the past, argues that “those were the times.” Arroyo is implying that the actions that were undertaken were somehow completely normal or seen as entirely acceptable back then.  Statements like that are problematic for numerous reasons, and they misrepresent the actual historical facts about the Trail of Tears and other ways Native Americans were treated during and prior to the 19th century.

The violent removal of Native Americans, the enslavement of the indigenous populations, and slaughter of Native Americans that happened from the 16th-19th centuries were not universally accepted.  There were many public figures who fervently opposed these actions.  There were many who knew that what was being done was morally wrong and spoke up in opposition.

In the state of Georgia, Christian missionaries lived on Native lands and worked to protect Native Americans from the state and federal government.  Georgia responded by imprisoning the missionaries.  In 1832, the United States Supreme Court (in the case of Worcester v. Georgia) rebuked the government of the state of Georgia, ruling against them and maintaining that Native lands were sovereign and not under state or federal jurisdiction.  This decision laid the groundwork for the legal rights of Native American communities, but was not respected by President Jackson or the state of Georgia. The Native Americans were later forcefully removed (in violation of the Supreme Court decision) in 1838—as a part of what we now call the Trial of Tears.

Arroyo’s justification also ignores the fact that many prominent Catholics spoke up in defense of indigenous persons.  Under the leadership of various popes, the Catholic Church, which itself had been involved in the mistreatment and abuse of native populations, spoke out against numerous forms of dehumanization that involved Native peoples. Centuries before the Trail of Tears, Bartolomé de las Casas forcefully objected to the enslavement and murder of indigenous people in Latin America. Pope Paul III declared in a Papal Bull that: “The said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ.” St. Junipero Serra fought the efforts of the Spanish to enslave Native Americans in California and stopped the killing of numerous Native Americans.

Numerous Christian missioners and leaders opposed the Trail of Tears. Prominent members of the opposition party, the Whigs, did so, as well. Even Davy Crockett spoke out against these policies.

Arroyo’s claim that the violence perpetrated against Native Americans  was acceptable because “those were the times” thus displays a total disregard for facts and history.  It denies the agency of those who intentionally and deliberately attacked and mistreated indigenous populations.  The idea that “those were the times” implies that there was a consensus about what to do with regards to Native Americans. That is simply factually false.  The actions that were taken against Native Americans were planned and undertaken despite well-known opposition.

It’s high time that we fight back against the notion that atrocities that were inflicted upon groups like Native Americans, immigrants, and enslaved Africans, are somehow justified and defensible because “those were the times.”  This sort of historic fatalism denies that there were those who pushed back against the abhorrent treatment of marginalized groups, and it is critical that we highlight those voices to show that throughout history, there have been people who understood that such acts were immoral and unacceptable, regardless of the times.