China

Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 1:39 pm on 25th March 1998.

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Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton 1:39 pm, 25th March 1998

What steps she is taking to prevent funds from her Department supporting coercive abortion in China. [34631]

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

No funds from my Department support coercive abortion in China now or under the previous Administration. I am very surprised and disappointed that organisations and individuals who claim to have high standards of integrity continue to propagate this untruth. All our funding for reproductive health is contingent on respect for the principles of free and informed choice upheld at the international conference on population and development in Cairo in 1994. The work that my Department supports in China has the purpose of reducing the number of coercive abortions and giving Chinese people the freedom to control their own fertility.

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton

Will the Secretary of State raise the issue of forced abortions in China with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights? Will she explain to a sceptical public how using United Kingdom taxpayers' money to fund such repugnant practices through the United Nations Fund for Population Activities is consistent with an ethical foreign policy?

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

Anyone who is serious knows that money given to the UNFPA by the Government and by the previous Government does not subsidise coercive abortion in any way. On the contrary; it is used to end those abusive practices and to give the people of China control over their own fertility. It is deeply unfortunate that hon. Members propagate untruths.