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Birth Control in China: the One Child Policy

Essay Topic: ,

Population Control In China “ There are many ways to make the death rate increase” (Robert McNamara). The regulation of population via forced abortions, forced sterilizations, infanticide, and government programs does not only hurt the economy, but continuously damages it to a point of weakness and downfall. Population control in China has been hurting the Chinese people and destroying the Chinese economy for a span of 65 years, and continues to cause conflict even today.

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The one-child policy that exists within China’s communist government has and will continue to devastate the Chinese economy if forced sterilizations and abortions continue.

Population control in China has been prevalent in the Chinese economy ever since the communists took over china in 1949. When Mao Zedong took over as the dictator of China in the 1950’s, he proposed what he called “The Great Leap Forward” (“China Passes the One-Child Policy” 1). This giant movement encouraged the peoples of China “to have as many kids as possible in order to prove China’s greatness as the world’s most populous country” (“China Passes the One-Child Policy” 1). Due to a major increase in China’s population, “famine and disease” became a major concern for the Chinese government (“China” 1).

The “Wan Xi Shao” Program was introduced as a way to regulate China’s population by “promoting later marriages, longer intervals between births, and fewer children” (“One-child Policy” 1). “Deng Xiaoping” proposed the “wan Xi Shao” program in 1978 when he came to power; however, it was not passed until 1979 (“China” 2). The Wan Xi Shao program eventually evolved into the one-child policy which Encouraged and promoted the same ideals as the Wan Xi Shao program, but provided government funds to those Chinese families that followed the policies (Friedman 5).

With no “birth-control policy before the communists took over China in 1949, the fertility rate was 3. 7% per year”; As of a census in 2002, “the annual fertility rate in china has been reduced to 1. 2%” (“One-child Policy” 4,5). Chinese families are currently being pressured into having only one child by the communist government and the policies held by the government in China. The one-child policy was “designed to curb the overpopulation from the 1950’s-1980’s by limiting families to having only one child” (“China Passes the One-Child Policy” 1).

The One-child policy is mostly encouraged on “a local level” instead of a federal level (“China” 4). For each extra child, or “surplus” child, the family is required to pay fines and financial penalties. Also, these “surplus” children are ineligible for “extra bonuses and special programs” funded by the Chinese government (“China Passes the One-Child Policy” 4). In many rural parts of china, where the policy is less enforced, a family who has a first born female child may be allowed to have a second child “without being subjected to fees” (“China Passes the One-Child Policy” 5).

This is because of the country’s traditional preference for boys; boys will regularly carry on the family name and care for their elderly parents. This is an example of the policy being enforced less federally and more locally where families can be accounted for. Also, in order to “promote ethnic minorities”, non-Han/Chinese families are encouraged to have more than one child without being subjected to any fees (“China” 6). However, even with these birth control policies in effect, “China’s population still ranks first in the world with 1,306,313,812 residents as of 2006” (“One-child Policy” 6).

At this rate, “the number of people living in china is predicted to be as high as 1. 5 billion in 2025” (“One-child Policy” 7). If population regulation policies continue to be in effect in China, a massive gender imbalance may occur within the population of China. The Han, or Chinese culture’s, “traditional preference for boys” has led to many acquisitions of “female infanticide and abandonment” (Friedman 2). This means that because of the Han’s traditional preference boys, they have participated in killing off their female children.

This may result in a large gender imbalance and may prove “disastrous to Chinese society in the future” (“One-child Policy”3). This imbalance within the Chinese population will eventually create a “shortage of women and leave some men unable to marry and reproduce” (Friedman 1). When these men will not be able to reproduce, a steady rise in “the illegal trafficking of women for marriage and prostitution” will occur in order to satisfy their needs (“One-child Policy” 13). Along with the rise in prostitution and trafficking of women, an increase in “the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases” will be imminent (Friedman 4).

There are not many solutions to this particular problem and all of these solutions are delicate topics to discuss. The controversy on human rights in china is not likely to go away as long as it is argued in terms of “freedom vs. stability” (Shanor 2). As long as we are arguing for the people’s freedom of choice against the stability of a communist nation, a debate will never be won. Change may only come to china as it continues “to modernize and begins to see the extension of the rule of law not as a threat but as an advantage to its development” (Shanor 2).

Winning this debate on human rights means “understanding that too much public pressure of human rights” will only worsen the matter (Shanor 1). Only quite and gentle pressure could help such a change. The one-child policy is destroying the Chinese economy and social life within the Chinese government. The one-child policy has been in place for over 50 years and if it continues to prosper then life in china will not. Life in china will only head in a downward spiral. Population control must be terminated or it will continue to wreck and hurt the world’s economy.