WASHINGTON - The diplomatic battle between the United States and China over the case of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has shined a new light on his country's one-child policy.
Chen faced harsh treatment and house arrest because of his opposition to China's strict rule of only one child per family in certain areas.
Chinese officials recently agreed that Chen could come to America to study. Still, China hasn't taken any steps to give him or his family the necessary travel documents.
It appears that China's government is doing little to change the one-child policy that Chen often protested against.
At a House hearing this week, legislators heard stark testimony from a Chinese woman forced to undergo five abortions because of the policy.
Mei Shunping recalled working in a typical factory where women had to strip once a month to prove they weren't pregnant. She said women constantly spied on each other and turned pregnant women in.
"Two of my pregnancies were reported by my colleagues to the family planning commission," she told lawmakers.
"When discovered, pregnant women would be dragged to undergo forced abortions," Shunping continued. "There was no other choice. We had no dignity as potential child-bearers."
"In China, brothers and sisters are illegal, and women are treated as criminals if they have a child without explicit government permission," Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., explained.
All this has caused so much agony for the nation's women, that All Girls Allowed founder Chai Ling said, "A woman takes her life every three seconds in China."
Chen's opposition to China's one-child policy earned him and his wife many beatings and years of house arrest, until he fled in April and took sanctuary in the U.S. embassy.
Chen called into the hearing from a hospital room in China where he and his family have been isolated. He thanked America for concentrating on his ordeal.
But with Chen still trapped in China, Rep. Smith said, "The story unfortunately is far from over."