"A born writer, especially a born story-teller. Dr. Sutherland, who is distinguished in medicine, is an amateur in the sense that he only writes when he has nothing better to do. But when he does, it could hardly be done better." G.K. Chesterton.
“China is forcing women to be sterilised or fitted with contraceptive devices in Xinjiang in an apparent attempt to limit the population of Muslim Uighurs, according to new research.”China forcing birth control on Uighurs to suppress population, report says (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-53220713) viewed 11 July 2020.
So began the story recently published on a BBC webpage, also reported in The Independent. It outlined the dramatic and unprecedented fall in Uighur birth rates, as well as the horrific experiences of a woman forcibly fitted with an Inter-uterine Device (IUD) following the birth of her third child. The article closed with the alleged campaign of coercive birth control in Xinjiang was part of a “demographic campaign of genocide” against the Uighurs.
One hundred years ago, a campaign in Britain began which aimed to reduce the birth rate of poor and working class Britons and to prevent the so-called “C3s” from procreating. The leader of the movement, Dr Marie Stopes, advocated laws to compulsory sterilise those she considered inferior and she lobbied MPs and the Prime Minister to this end. Elsewhere she recommended that IUDs be implanted in C3 mothers.
And there’s the rub, because the BBC and The Independent take a different approach to the British campaign to the one they use when discussing China and the Uighurs. Not only do they not condemn Stopes’ campaign, but they even celebrate her as a liberator of British women.
It is unfair to judge a historical figure by the norms of another era and they should not be measured against contemporary benchmarks. In the case of Dr Stopes though, her advocacy of the compulsory sterilization of C3s was as wrong in her lifetime as it is in ours.