"Early in 1979, I and several other young nurses from my ward were summoned to a mass meeting. All sixty-odd of us were young married women who had not yet been sterilized. Secretary Wang arrived and took up a position in front of the assembly. His round little face, normally the picture of conviviality, was set in an expression of the utmost gravity. 'Today we have a matter of extreme urgency,' he began, 'a toudeng dashi, to discuss. It concerns the population of the motherland. The People's Republic of China has within its borders nearly a billion people, or one-fifth of the world's population. This is a big burden for the people's government. ... Having children is not a question that we can afford to let each family, each household, decide for itself. ... It is a question that should be decided at the national level. China is a socialist country. This means that the interests of the individual must be subordinated to the interests of the state. Where there is conflict between the interests of the state in reducing population and the interests of the individual in having children, it must be resolved in favor of the state.'"
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quoted in A Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's fight Against China's One-child Policy, Steven W. Mosher ( New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993), p. 212-213.
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Reader comments about this quote:
Ah, Reston's utopia. A world where the government can do what it wants to the individual, based upon man's own understanding of what's right and wrong for society -- infringing upon the very living existence of a Homo sapien, child of God, living being, etc. No matter how you look at it, Socialism, or anything like unto it, is against natural law. Regardless of what your faith, belief, thought, or background, once life itself becomes legislated, freedom and liberty are no longer issues. I question people's faith in government, when government is not an entity unto itself, but a group of fallible men and women. Government is not perfect because man is not perfect. People complain about Corporations taking over the country and bad people in capitalism... However, I ask, do you not think that men and women, just as bad, might also fill government positions? The problem with giving government the power is that government has the power of coercion... You can choose to give your business to a corporation, but you cannot go against what the government says... If I disagree with Wal-Mart, I'll stop shopping there, but if I disagree with the government and stop shopping there (paying unlawful taxes), I go to jail, or worse. Why then would we ever give government more power to act in our own self-interest? It is not government's duty to make my wants my needs, and my needs into my rights-- these are not the "rights" the founding father's talked about.
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    The quote is an excellent revelation on a repulsive situation.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
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    The here referenced "people's government / People's Republic" (inferring of, by, for) is/are an oxymoron(s), and a lie. The subject style government is for the advancement of an anti-person / family ideology which is a very repulsive situation. The burden of numbers was accurately stated. The problem was not with the individuals themselves, or their sheer numbers, it was with the ineptitude of the ideology's managers. The ideology (socialism under any of its many faces, i.e. communism, collectivism, etc.) is immoral at its core, incapable of sustained growth, and does not recognize any individual's nobility. What is the "state"? Large families, more often than not, create an infrastructure, ideology if you will, contrary to socialism's mores. Socialism's entitlement "state" is a diversionary title that selects all those of a peculiar persuasion, forcefully inflicting the masses with whatever their guns, religion, inadequacies, and perversions can get away with.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    EXCELLENT points Logan and Mike. I agree 100%.
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
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    Yes, a deplorable step to legislate the ability to have children... but the reality is that when there are too many people, the very value of a person's life is degraded. The simple truth is that this planet is a closed eco-system and that as such it has limits as to how many people it can support. Yes, I know that the US's Taliban (a.k.a. Radical Religious Right) do not fear this, 'cause they know that they will cause their blessed global Armageddon long before we reach that state... but some of us think that we (humanity) are capable of much more than that... we are optimistic that we will not destroy ourselves either by global thermo-nuclear war or by simple over-breeding like rats in a sewer.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    If we give the government the power to legislate birth, parenting and death, we will become slaves from the cradle to the grave.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Reston, I've asked you: at what magic number does an organic individual lose his inalienable rights to the inorganic ethereal phantasm (government)? Now I ask: what is the magic number that is 'too many', where individual life loses value and is degraded (one million, one billion, one trillion - when does the rat equation kick-in)? Also, in your ultimate wisdom, knowing the most simple of truths, what is the magic number, how many people can this planet's closed eco-system support and how close are we? Also, I missed in my scripture study where the destruction of the last days (or any destruction of life) was blessed (what do you mean by blessed), or that any followers of Christ would cause your stated event, can you help me out as to chapter and verse?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Thank you again, Reston, for reason in a slough of obduracy. I much appreciate your comments.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
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    Only a socialist would would like anything about this quote. The scariest phrase is "...it must be resolved in favor of the state." How can you have individuality or free thinkers if everything is in favor of the state? Simple, you can't!
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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    The quote indirectly cites the words of the one advocating for state intervention, but directly cites the author of the book that revealed this situation. It is a good quote that reveals the attitude of the state.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    If we do not repeal federal government programs for the people here-you will see the same thing happening to us.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    I give it a five for being a first hand expression of what was going on in China. While few really relish the idea of population control, it has gone on throughout the ages. Society does in a general way suggest family size. Large families were considered necessary in farming socities. Reston's attitude is the correct one. Government studies, maintains and supports animal populations most everywhere. Human beings through their ignorance or hardheadness almost wiped out numerous species but through the application of science and intelligence some have been rescued and restored. China under Mao encouraged the overpopulation and the Chineese people responded. They obviously have to correct their first error.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    I suspect that Dick,Reston,and Waffler would be happy living in China.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    --- or maybe N Korea.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Thumbs down for the reality of the situation. What many know is that girl babies are being murdered in favor of the "more valuable" boy babies. What this has led to is a population with over two hundred million single young men with no prospect of finding a wife or having a family. The Government there now has a valuable resource...an angry and frustrated army in waiting....
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    In "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment" a book co-authored by John Holdren, Paul and Anne Ehrlich, they said, "Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society." Holdren just happens to be the Science Czar in the Obama administration. He also says, ""Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods is a suggestion that seems to horrify people more than most proposals for involuntary fertility control. Indeed, this would pose some very difficult political, legal, and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems. No such sterilant exists today, nor does one appear to be under development. To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements: it must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock." I find this more troubling than the rather crude techniques used by the Chinese.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Ken "concluded by whom". It is all a bit troubling but so is a planet say of 20 billion or 50 billion people. Because things are troubling like global warming or health care are troubling does not mean that people we should put our heads in the sand. It was troubling to discuss the vanishing deer, elk, and buffalo herds also etc. We have got to use our heads.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    This quote deserves no attention.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Those crying for population control are asking for none other than mass murder. The only way to reduce population is to KILL people -- and females predominantly because less women means less babies. If you want to use your head, Waffler, get it out of the sand. It is arrogance of the highest order to assume power over life, death, and reproduction. If you think there are too many people on the planet, then do something constructive: kill yourself.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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