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Beijing wrong on rights

Dear Sir,

I read with interest the article submitted by the Committe for the Protection of Women and Children's Rights of Ponleu Khmer (PPP 3/20).

Although I applaud the organization itself and the work being done to enhance the well-being of women and children everywhere, I can't help but wonder at the naiveté of anyone who would entertain the thought of traveling to China to attend a World Conference on Women.

The killing of newborn baby girls in China is certainly no secret. This horrid practice has long been a custom in China, and the government policy of "one child per couple" has exacerbated the situation to a point that it is has almost become institutionalized. Projected figures indicate that the murders will soon have a devastating effect on the demographics of China.

A shortage of over 100 million marriageable women is expected at the start of the next century i.e., within the next decade! Perhaps this fact may be part of what fuels the interest of the Chinese businessmen who wish to establish a "new Hong Kong" here in Cambodia.

Certainly a shortage of 100 million will have a positive effect on the rights of women. Simple law of supply and demand to put it in economic terms, and the Chinese are extremely efficient in terms of economics. But surely there must be a component of ethics or morals in any social strategy, and this, perhaps, is where the Chinese are lacking.

A Human Rights Conference in China might be akin to an Animal Rights Conference at a slaughter house.

This extreme analogy is not without validity. And so, I urge the women of Cambodia and elsewhere to exercise extreme caution in where and with whom they weave their banners.

The leadership of Cambodia would be justly advised to use the same caution in any dealings with business men of China.

- Bert Hoak, Phnom Penh



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