Steven W. Mosher

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Steven Westley Mosher [1] (born May 9, 1948) [2] is an American social scientist, anti-abortion activist and author who specializes in anthropology, demography and in Chinese population control. He is the president of the Population Research Institute, an advocate for human rights in China, and has been instrumental in exposing abuses in China's one-child policy as well as other human rights abuses in population control programs around the world. [3]

The Population Research Institute (PRI) is a non-profit organization based in Front Royal, Virginia, USA. PRI describes itself as "a non-profit research group whose goals are to expose the myth of overpopulation" as well as "human rights abuses committed in population control programs, and to make the case that people are the world's greatest resource." It operates programs against the advancement of contraception, sterilization, and abortion. PRI is a 501(c)(3) organization and claims contacts to pro-life groups in over 30 countries. Results are being released in an own online periodical, PRI Review.

Human rights in China is a highly contested topic, especially for the fundamental human rights periodically reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), on which the government of the People's Republic of China and various foreign governments and human rights organizations have often disagreed. PRC authorities, their supporters, and other proponents claim that existing policies and enforcement measures are sufficient to guard against human rights abuses. However other countries and their authorities, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as Human Rights in China and Amnesty International, and citizens, lawyers, and dissidents inside the country, state that the authorities in mainland China regularly sanction or organize such abuses. Jiang Tianyong, 46, is the latest lawyer known for defending government critics to be jailed. According to the news over the past two years more than 200 have been detained in the ongoing crackdown on criticism in China.

One-child policy population control policy which was used by the Peoples Republic of China

China's one-child policy was part of a birth planning program designed to control the size of its population. Distinct from the family planning policies of most other countries, it set a limit on the number of children parents could have, the world's most extreme example of population planning. It was introduced in 1979, modified in the mid 1980s to allow rural parents a second child if the first was a daughter, and then lasted three more decades before being eliminated at the end of 2015. The policy also allowed exceptions for some other groups, including ethnic minorities. The term one-child policy is thus a misnomer, because for nearly 30 of the 36 years that it existed (1979–2015) about half of all parents in China were allowed to have a second child.


He has previously served as the Director of the Claremont Institute's Asian Study Center, as well as Commissioner of the US Commission on Broadcasting to China. [4]

Claremont Institute American conservative think tank

The Claremont Institute is an American conservative think tank based in Upland, California. The institute was founded in 1979 by four students of Harry V. Jaffa. The Institute publishes the Claremont Review of Books, a quarterly journal of political thought and statesmanship, as well as other books and publications.


Mosher was born in 1948 to working class parents in Scotia, California and spent his early years in Fresno, California. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in May 1968, and attended Nuclear Power School before being selected for the Seaman to Admiral program. He received a B.S. degree in Biological Oceanography from the University of Washington in 1971, graduating summa cum laude and receiving a commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy. The following year he earned an M.S. in Biological Oceanography. For the next three years, he served with the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the Far East, achieving the rank of Lieutenant. In early 1976, following his naval service, he enrolled in the Chinese language program of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, completing the two-year course of study in 9 months. Awarded a three-year National Science Foundation fellowship, he was admitted to the doctoral program in anthropology at Stanford University, earning an M.A. in East Asian Studies in 1977, and an M.A. in Anthropology in 1978, and carrying out anthropological fieldwork on rural communities in Taiwan.

Scotia, California Census designated place in California, United States

Scotia is a census-designated place in Humboldt County, California. It is located on the Eel River along U.S. Route 101, 8.5 miles (13.7 km) south-east of Fortuna and 244 miles (393 km) north of San Francisco. Scotia has a population of 850.

Fresno, California City in California, United States

Fresno is a city in California, United States, and the county seat of Fresno County. It covers about 112 square miles (290 km2) in the center of the San Joaquin Valley, the southern portion of California's Central Valley.

University of Washington Public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States

The University of Washington is a public research university in Seattle, Washington.

Visit to China and expulsion from Stanford

In 1979 Mosher became the first American research student to conduct anthropological research in rural China after the Cultural Revolution.[ citation needed ] He was given early access to China at the request of Jimmy Carter to Deng Xiaoping. He also traveled to Guizhou, [5] then a somewhat remote and rarely visited part of China's southwest. Mosher is known in Chinese as Mao Sidi. [2] (Chinese :毛思迪; pinyin :Máosīdí), [6] In 1981 Mosher was denied re-entry to China by the Chinese government, which considered he had broken its laws and acted unethically.

Jimmy Carter 39th president of the United States

James Earl Carter Jr. is an American politician and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A Democrat, he previously served as a Georgia state senator from 1963 to 1967 and as the 76th governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. After his presidency, Carter has remained active in the private sector; in 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding the Carter Center.

Deng Xiaoping Chinese politician, Paramount leader of China

Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician who was the paramount leader of the People's Republic of China from 1978 until his retirement in 1989. After Chairman Mao Zedong's death in 1976, Deng led China through far-reaching market-economy reforms.

Mosher was expelled from Stanford University's Ph.D program after publishing an article in Taiwan about his experiences in Guangdong. This expulsion occurred shortly before the publication of Broken Earth. [7] The Chinese government was challenged by the contents of the book, which revealed among other things that forced abortions were common in that part of China as a part of the one-child policy. He also released photographs of Chinese women undergoing forced abortions with their faces exposed, a possible violation of personal privacy, according to standards of anthropological ethics. [8] He was expelled from Stanford University due to "illegal and unethical conduct." The Mosher case became a cause célèbre in the academic world, [9] for it was said [10] that Stanford acted under pressure from the Chinese government, which threatened to withhold permission for future Stanford researchers to visit China. However, Stanford said that its concern was that Mosher's informants had been put in jeopardy and that this was contrary to anthropological ethics. [11]

Stanford University private research university located in Stanford, California, United States

Leland Stanford Junior University is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic strength, wealth, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranking as one of the world's top universities.

Guangdong Most populous province of the Peoples Republic of China

Guangdong is a province in South China, on the South China Sea coast. Guangdong surpassed Henan and Shandong to become the most populous province in China in January 2005, registering 79.1 million permanent residents and 31 million migrants who lived in the province for at least six months of the year; the total population was 104,303,132 in the 2010 census, accounting for 7.79 percent of Mainland China's population. This also makes it the most populous first-level administrative subdivision of any country outside of South Asia, as its population is surpassed only by those of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the Indian states of Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The provincial capital Guangzhou and economic hub Shenzhen are among the most populous and important cities in China. The population increase since the census has been modest, the province registering 108,500,000 people in 2015. Most of the historical Guangdong Province is administered by the People's Republic of China (PRC). However, the archipelagos of Pratas in the South China Sea are controlled by the Republic of China, and were previously part of Guangdong Province before the Chinese Civil War.

A forced abortion may occur when the perpetrator causes abortion by force, threat or coercion, or by taking advantage of woman's incapability to give her consent, or where she gives her consent under duress. This may also include the instances when the conduct was neither justified by medical or hospital treatment. Like forced sterilization, forced abortion may include a physical invasion of female reproductive organs.

According to Mosher's book, Journey to the Forbidden China, he had a travel permit signed by the proper authority (Section Chief Liu of the Canton Public Security Office) to go into the "forbidden area" of Guizhou because it was en route to his destination of Sichuan. Mosher gave a copy of the travel permit to the American Consulate before he met with the Chinese authorities to discuss the incident.

Sichuan Province

Sichuan is a province in southwest China occupying most of the Sichuan Basin and the easternmost part of the Tibetan Plateau between the Jinsha River on the west, the Daba Mountains in the north, and the Yungui Plateau to the south. Sichuan's capital city is Chengdu. The population of Sichuan stands at 81 million.

In the period after the Mosher controversy, it became much more difficult for American anthropologists to work in China; although Daniel M. Amos, then a doctoral student in anthropology at UCLA, successfully completed field research in Guangdong province between June 1980 and August 1981. [12] Many other anthropologists from the United States were limited to three weeks' stay. [13]

According to the Los Angeles Times, Mosher successfully lobbied the George W. Bush administration to withhold $34 to $40 million per year for seven years from the United Nations Population Fund, the largest international donor to family planning programs. [14]

Personal life

Mosher, a convert to Roman Catholicism, lives in Virginia with his wife, Vera, and has nine children. [15] [16] In 1983, he married Hwang Hui Wa, an assistant professor of English and Chinese at Fu Hsing Technical College in Taiwan, after his previous marriage to Maggie So, a Hong Kong Chinese of Guangdong descent, ended in divorced in 1981. [17]

Selected bibliography

Steven Mosher has authored the following books as well as numerous articles and op-eds:

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  1. Turner, Wallace (February 26, 1983). "Stanford ousts Ph.D. candidate over his use of data on China". New York Times. Retrieved June 3, 2014. The Chinese have cut off scholars' access to rural areas since they started criticizing the behavior of the graduate student, Steven Westley Mosher, 34 years old.
  2. 1 2 "Mosher, Steven W." LC Name Authority File. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  3. Population Research Institute: Our President
  4. "Mosher, Steven: 417 Articles at". Retrieved 2018-02-19.
  5. Frank Gibney, book review in Los Angeles Times , 6 October 1985
  6. "毛思迪 (Mosher, Steven W.)". Worldcat Identities. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  7. Mosher, Steven W. (2008). Broken Earth. Simon and Schuster. ISBN   9781439119679.
  8. Horowitz, Irving Louis, "Struggling for the Soul of Social science," article in Society, Vol. 20, No. 5, pp. 4–15
  9. Nicolas Rothwell, publ. in Quadrant , Australia, 1984, p. 92
  10. Antonia Finnane, "Daughters, Sons, and Human Rights in China", article in Human Rights and Gender Politics: Asia-Pacific Perspectives, ed. Anne-Marie Hilsdon, publ. Routledge/Taylor and Francis, London, 2000, p. 93
  11. Ethics and the Profession of Anthropology, ed. Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, publ. AltaMira Press, Oxford, p. 163
  12. Daniel Amos in Marginality and the Hero's Art, Ph.D. dissertation, UCLA, 1983
  13. Stevan Harrell in Fieldwork Connections, ed. Ayi Bamo, Stevan Harrell, Lunzy Ma, publ. Univ. of Washington Press, 2007, p. 27
  14. Weiss, Kenneth R. (July 22, 2012). "Fertility rates fall, but global population explosion goes on". Los Angeles Times.
  15. "Our President | Population Research Institute". Retrieved 2014-05-03.
  16. Frawley Desmond, Joan (January 20, 2012). "Steve Mosher: A Vision of "Hell" Brought Him to the Church". National Catholic Register . Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  17. Turner, Wallace (February 26, 1983). "Stanford ousts Ph.D. candidate over his use of data on China". New York Times. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2014-09-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)