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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(4), 137;

Coercive Population Control and Asylum in the U.S.

Gender & Women’s Studies, SUNY Plattsburgh State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY 12901, USA
Received: 15 June 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 2 November 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women, Gender and Politics: An International Overview)
Full-Text   |   PDF [287 KB, uploaded 8 November 2017]


In 1980, China implemented one of the most controversial population policies in modern times. China’s one-child policy shaped population politics for thirty-five years until its dissolution in 2015. During this time, many women were subjected to routine gynecological examinations, pregnancy testing, abortions, and sterilizations, which were often forced upon them by family planning officials. Some women fled China and sought refuge in the United States after having experienced a forced abortion or forced sterilization or feared that they would be subjected to a forced abortion or forced sterilization. This article focuses on how the U.S. government responded to China’s one-child policy through the passage of immigration laws and policies that made asylum a viable option for Chinese nationals who had been persecuted or feared persecution because of coercive population control policies. Based on observations of asylum hearings and interviews with immigration judges and immigration attorneys, this article uses feminist ethnographic methods to show how China’s one-child policy and U.S. asylum laws shape the gender politics of reproduction and migration. View Full-Text
Keywords: China; coercive population control; immigration; asylum; reproductive rights China; coercive population control; immigration; asylum; reproductive rights
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Oxford, C. Coercive Population Control and Asylum in the U.S.. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 137.

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