Pro-life obervers of the international scene are horrified, but hardly surprised, at reports that Chinese lawmakers have called for the legalization of euthanasia.

Shanghai deputy Zhu Shiming and 31 other delegates to the National People’s Congress have presented a motion to the NPC calling for the swift passage of “right to die” legislation. They said euthanasia would eliminate patient suffering while allowing them to maintain dignity and ease the financial burdens on their families.

Zhu, whose brother-in-law succumbed to cancer earlier this year, said, “If China had a law allowing termination of life by painless means to end severe physical suffering, my brother-in-law and other patients wouldn’t have to experience severe pain before death.” Zhu also claimed many people euthanize family members, sometimes with impunity.

Stephen Mosher, president of the Front Royal, Va.-based Population Research Institute, told The Interim that, considering the lack of respect for the sanctity of human life and the aggressive population-control measures their country uses, the Chinese will “get into euthanasia in a big, big way.”

Mosher, an expert on China, says there will be quotas for euthanasia for each province, just as there is for abortion. “Euthanasia will be part of their population-control strategy.”

He said that because China has “no moral compunction about killing people,” coercive euthanasia will become as routine as coercive abortion, he predicted.

The China Daily reports that in the early 1990s, proposals to liberalize euthanasia were stalled because of heated moral debates that arose. But Mosher said it was just a matter of the law catching up to a widespread practice heretofore accepted. “It would be legal recognition of common practice,” he said. The Communist party has issued directives encouraging euthanasia and the new law will be mere “window dressing.”

Mosher said that the elderly, who are viewed as unproductive, are routinely denied healthcare. The respect for elderly that many in the West admire in Far Eastern culture “has long ceased to be true in China.” He said the attitude is that if “they are not socially useful,” there is little use in keeping the elderly around.

Mosher vows that PRI will investigate abuses of the euthanasia regime once it takes effect.