Article by Richard Hoste. Eugenics is something I look rather askance at, particularly when intertwined with the state, given its susceptibility to abuse. Even this author, who is obviously far more sympathetic to eugenics than I am, seems to recognize this problem. But this is an interesting article dealing with some obscure history and contemporary issues we won’t hear much about from conventional sources. I agree with the author’s point that China is indeed an interesting case study, given that it’s an advanced industrial civilization with an ancient history that has probably resisted the influence of Western liberalism to a much greater degree than any part of the world other than the Muslim states. Yet the Chinese lack the intellectual and scientific obscurantism of Islam, making it unique in being that only society of any real size or influence that has almost completely rejected Western values while embracing Western science, technology, and economics.
Government officials and medical professionals supported making eugenic research a top priority. All policies dealing with reproductive health now exist within a eugenics framework. A couple isolated voices protest, but according to the author, suggesting that there’s much diversity of opinion on this issue would be misleading. Scientific journals, like those in the West, publish articles on the importance of heredity in determining intelligence. Studies are done showing that retardation also depends on genes. A detailed report in Fujian province showed that fertility trends were dysgenic. There’s no New Left lobby to block this research.
The government has waged a war on inbreeding, popular in rural areas and amongst some minorities. The author makes the compelling argument that even if much of this battle may be based on solid science, the crusade serves a symbolic purpose. Cosmopolitan elites across the world tend to see those practicing consanguineous relations as holdouts against modernity.
Legitimizing the reach of the government into families and lineages (the battle against cousin marriage) endows society with unprecedented powers of intervention and regulation into the personal lives of individuals in the name of public health.
In 1995, the famous Eugenics Law was passed, making prenatal screening mandatory and “encouraging” the unfit not to reproduce nationwide. Many provinces have their own, much stricter laws. Support for these programs reaches into the highest levels of government. Party officials who are eugenicists have centered around former Premier Li Peng (quoted as saying “Idiots breed idiots”), an outspoken advocate of good breeding. He has close ties to former Minister of Public Health Chen Minzhang, the man who introduced the Eugenics Law. In 1996 the government is alleged to have moved towards a policy of encouraging the more fit to breed. Officials are aware that this is unpopular with the “international community” (i.e., white elitist do-gooders) and not many details are available. Numbers on how many people have been sterilized are hard to come by.