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one child policy

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Paul Lam

on 1 November 2013

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Transcript of one child policy

Should One-child policy be abolished?
One Child Policy
History & Background
While considering the controversies of one child policy, we can find the negative consequences caused seem to overweigh its positive effects. Inhumane enforcement by Chinese officials is one of the hottest topics when we discuss one child policy.
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Tragic Death Renews Outrage Over China's One-Child Policy (LinkAsia: 2/15/13)
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China is not the only country suffering from the problem of over-population. India is another country facing this problem. Like China, she had also implemented some kind of population controlling policies before.
Eight years before the Bucharest conference on population which was held in 1974, India government set up the Ministry of Public Health which had been renamed the Ministry of Public Health and Family Planning. The ministry tried to find out the method to control the population growth. (Feng, Cai & Gu, 2013)
Comparison with
other countries

CCCH9023 Family and development in modern China
One-child policy has been implemented to reduce the population growth and was announced as the basic state policy in 1982 (Bongaarts & Greenhalgh, 1985). Chinese officials claimed that the policy had averted 400 million births since the implementation (Feng, Cai & Gu, 2013).
However, this claim was misleading and inaccurate. According to Dr. Feng, Cai and Gu (2013), this claim is based on the calculation using simplistic extrapolation method to project the future crude birth rate using the trajectory of decline between 1950 and 1970. The projected crude birth rate was 2.97% by 1990 and 2.84% by 1998. However, after 1970 and before 1979, the implementation of the policy, the observed birth rate had already fell below the above predicted birth rates by 1990 and 1998. Most of the fertility transition had already completed within the decade of the 1970s. In this decade, the total fertility rate dropped by more than half from 5.8% in 1970 to 2.8% in 1979. From the above data, we can see that the number of claimed averted births is greatly overestimated.
Moreover, by comparing the fertility rates in 1990 and 1998 of countries of similar fertility rate in 1970 with the official predicted fertility rates, we can see that most of those countries’ fertility rate fell below the rate predicted by the Chinese government (Feng, Cai & Gu, 2013). This again proved the fact that the number of claimed averted births is overestimated.
Using the Beyesian model developed by Alkema et al and used lately by the United Nations for population projections, without one-child policy, China’s fertility rate would continue declining after 1980 and by 2010 the fertility rate would have fallen to the currently observed level which is around 1.5 children per woman. (Feng, Cai & Gu, 2013) Therefore, we can see that the one-child policy is actually ineffective in controlling the population growth. The decline in fertility rate is mostly due to the natural development in modern society but not the one-child policy.
Great decline in Fertility rate from 5.8% to 2.8%
One-child policy enacted
Prediction by government:
Fertility rate = 2.97%

But in 1979, fertility rate
already equaled 2.8%
The government used their overestimated numbers to calculate the births averted by the policy is 400million
Using Beyesian model,
Fertility rate with one-child policy(present)
= Fertility rate without one-child policy(predicted)
Sex ratio
Sex ratio is defined as the ratio of males to females in a population. The reported sex ratio in China has been increasing steadily, from 1.06 in 1979, to 1.11 in 1988, to 1.17 in 2001. This increasing and imbalanced sex ratio has been a consequence of One Child policy because many people have had sex-selective abortion after ultrasonography under the male-dominated culture, and has eventually caused the sex-ratio gap (Hesketh,2005).
Imbalanced sex ratio has imposed some negative impacts on the psychosocial wellbeing of unmarried men. Since imbalanced sex ratio infers that there is a shortage of women , it has made the unmarried men feel great pressure from their parents and relatives in finding their mates. Also, it has made them experience marginalization and loneliness, and finally get mental health problem such as depression (Zhou,2011). Furthermore, it may has increased the socially disruptive behavior among men.
On the other hand, as there has been a scarcity of women, the kidnapping and trafficking of women for marriage, as well as numbers of commercial sex workers has been increased (Hesketh,2005). All these consequences of imbalanced sex ratio could affect the China's stability in the future.
Because of the rapid decrease in the birth rate caused by One-child policy, combined with the long life expectancy due to new medical technologies and improving standard of living, it is predicted that China will face a serious problem of aging population in the future (Hesketh,2005). According to UN population projections, China will have around 1.42 billion people by the year 2050, yet only 22.5% of this total population will be age 20 and under (Chiu, 2004).
Aging population
The main problem that will harm the society due to aging population is that the growing costs of supporting the youth and the elderly will fall on an increasingly smaller working population. It simply means that the new generation in China may need to pay more tax and has heavier financial burden. Hence, the life pressure of the new generation will be increased. In the long term, there will be a increasing mental health problem among them.Apart from the individuals, the country will also suffer from aging population.
The problem of aging will impose negative impact on the labour volume, thereby it will weaken the competitiveness of China (Serban, 2012). Also, more resources will be needed to support the older people. As a result, China's economy and position in the world will be affected.
In 1975, India government started the notorious forced sterilization campaign in order to reduce the fertility rate and control the population growth. Between 1975 and 1976, over 8 million sterilizations were carried out. However, this campaign then caused the collapse of the current government and in 1977, family planning was pressured by public to be renamed family welfare and the sterilization targets were cut down significantly. Finally, this policy was completely abolished by the mid-1990s. (Feng, Cai & Gu, 2013)
Compared to China, India had followed the mainstream of public opinion to abolish the policy which invading the freedom and human rights while China continues to enforce the one-child policy till now despite great public opposition against the policy.
Some said as India abolished the population controlling policies, even though India and China had similar fertility rate in 1970, this led to the continued high fertility rate which is 2.6 children per woman in India while China’s fertility rate has dropped to a low level which is 1.6 children per woman in the present. (Gapminder, 2011) However, the different decrease in fertility rate in China is actually due to the cultural reasons. In China, in 1971 which was during the Cultural Revolution, family planning propaganda of “later-longer-fewer” was widespread throughout the whole China. This led to huge drop of fertility rate. (Shen, 1990) However, in India, according to the article written by Mrinalini Dar (2000), the professor in the University of Brigeport, the Indian culture was still traditional and is encouraging having multiple births. This made India remained high in fertility rate.
From the above comparison, though the population growth of China was dropped faster than that of India, this was not due to the existence of one-child policy but was due to the difference in cultural change.

One child policy is a population control policy which was introduced in 1978 and applied from 1979. The policy officially translated as "family planning policy’. The limit has been strongly enforced in urban areas, every couple can only carry one child excluding the following situations like having twins, rural couples who are allowed to apply to have a second child if their first-born is a daughter, ethnic minorities, and couples who are both only children themselves. It is believed to prevent overpopulation and the corresponding consequence. However the road to implement one child policy is not always sun and roses. During the period of Mao Zedong's leadership in the People's Republic of China, as he believe that more population can help to empower the country which have made the policy difficult to implement effectively at the first place. Then at the Beginning in 1970, couples are encouraged to marry at later age and only have maximum two children. As time gone by, people started to get over the concept of having more children. Why is it so essential to implement one child policy? Few decades ago the fertility rate in china began to decline significantly, and the life expectancy was instead increasing so the future population growth proved overwhelming. Based on the source, we can note that the predicted percentage increase in population is 313.6. As we all know over-population do harm to the society ,like reducing the limited resources rapidly and increasing the government expenditure like education, medical spending and welfare. What’s more, other countries see the growing population trend in china. Some of them frighten by the strong population while some criticize china for using up most of the resource on earth. For all these reasons, china finally decided to mandate one child policy nationwide until 1979.
Harsh Enforcement
A Chinese official from Wenzhou, China who works to enforce the one child policy drived over a 13-month old boy after the parents of the boy refused to pay the ‘social upbringing’ fine for violating China’s one child policy, which finally caused the death of the boy (Maessen, 2013). The violent enforcement of China’s one child policy enraged the public.
Forced Abortion
There was widespread outrage after a woman in China had been forced to abort her seven months baby and series of bloody photos were spread in the Internet. More than 1 million Internet users reviewed the photos and expressed their anger towards the incident. In China, it is not uncommon to find pregnant women being forced to have late-term abortion causing the death of the baby and sometimes the death of the mother (Demick, & Barbara, 2012).
Dying Rooms
As one family can only have one child, some parents will abandon their child when they find their children not “suiting their preference”. For example, there are parents who are very desperate to have a boy to support them in old age choose to abandon their child when they find her a baby girl. China’s orphanages therefore have to cope with large amount of abandoned baby-girls, which somehow caused by one child policy. China’s orphanages are called “the dying rooms” as it is very common to find abandoned infants died in the orphanages due to malnutrition and dehydration. Orphanages do not have enough resources to cope with the heavy burden of infants; the only solution to relieve their burden is to let the babies die (Mosher, 1996).
Short Summary
The one child policy was adopted to reduce fertility levels and increase people’s living standards. At first, the Chinese government would like to enforce the one child policy through education and propaganda; however, violent enforcement took place at last. Enforcement of China’s one child policy was very violent in the 1970s while beatings, kidnappings and killings were commonly found. Although it is claimed that the situation has been improved since 1980s, unethical incidents are still being found and people’s human rights are seriously violated. The above incidents were reviewed to be only small part of the incidents caused by the draconian one child policy and experts started to criticize the existence of one child policy while considering the harsh enforcement by Chinese officials (The Independent, 2013).
Related Article:
The Independent. (2013, Feb 27) China rethinks its controversial one-child policy. Independent Digital News and Media. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-rethinks-its-controversial-onechild-policy-2077152.html
Related News Articles:
"Phuket: China One-child Policy Enforcer Runs over Baby." Phuket: China One-child Policy Enforcer Runs over Baby. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
"One-Child Policy Enforcer Crushes Baby To Death After Parents Refuse To Pay "Fine"" Infowars OneChild Policy Enforcer Crushes Baby To Death After Parents Refuse To Pay Fine Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
Related News Article:
Demick, Barbara. "China One-child Policy Leads to Forced Abortions, Mothers' Deaths."Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 15 June 2012. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
Forced Abortion Statistics
Related news article
Mosher, S. W. (n.d.). The dying rooms: Chinese orphanages adopt a 'zero population growth policy' | Population Research Institute. Population Research Institute. Retrieved April 8, 2013, fromhttp://www.pop.org/content/the-scandal-of-chinas-orphans-304
Forced Abortion Sparks Calls to End One-Child Policy
The Chinese on the One CHILD POLICY...! ND/RC中国人怎么看计划生育?
China's one-child policy creates massive gender imbalance
One Child Policy Enforcer Runs Over Baby!
Secret experimental city challenges China one-child policy "success"
BBC. (2013, Feb 13). China steps up 'one child' policy. BBC News. Retrieved from

Bongaarts, John & Susan Greenhalgh. 1985. “an alternative to the one-child policy in China,” Population and Development Review 11(4): 585–617.

Chiu, E. (2004). The One-Child Policy’s Socio-Demographic Impact: Current Trends and Alternative Policy Projections. Wharton Research Scholars Journal.

Gapminder Foundation. (2011). Gapminder World, Gapminder. Retrieved from http://www.gapminder.org/world/

Hesketh, T. & Li, L.& Zhu, W. X. Accessed on September 15, 2005. The Effect of China's One-Child Family Policy after 25 Years. Retrieved from http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMhpr051833.

Mrinalini Dar. (2000). Population Explosion in India. University of Bridgeport.

Serban, A. C. (2012). Aging Population and Effects on Labour Market. Procedia Economics and Finance. Volume 1. 356-364.

Shen Yimin. (1990). The Fetility Revolution in China. IDRC reports. 16-17

Wang Feng, Yong Cai, & BaoChang Gu. (2013, Feb 19). Population, Policy, and Politics: How Will History Judge China's One-Child Policy?. Population and Development Review. 38(supplement):115-129

Zhou, X. D. & Wang, X. L. & Li, L. & Hesketh, T. (2011). The very high sex ratio in rural China: Impact on the psychosocial wellbeing of unmarried men. Social Science & Medicine. Volume 73 (9). 1422-1427.

Phuket News. (2013, Feb 27). Phuket: China One-child Policy Enforcer Runs over Baby. Retrieved from http://www.thephuketnews.com/china-one-child-policy-enforcer-runs-over-baby-36828.php

Jurriaan Maessen. (2013, Feb 6). One-Child Policy Enforcer Crushes Baby To Death After Parents Refuse To Pay "Fine". Infowars. Retrieved from

Demick, & Barbara. (2012, June 15) China One-child Policy Leads to Forced Abortions, Mothers' Deaths. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from

The Independent. (2013, Feb 27) China rethinks its controversial one-child policy. Independent Digital News and Media. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-rethinks-its-controversial-onechild-policy-2077152.html

Mosher, S. W. (n.d.). The dying rooms: Chinese orphanages adopt a 'zero population growth policy' | Population Research Institute. Population Research Institute. Retrieved April 8, 2013, from
Based on the above research, we can see that one-child policy is actually not an effective way to reduce population growth and avoid overpopulation. It instead causes a lot of social problems like imbalanced sex ratio and brings harm to the whole nation’s social structure. A lot of inhumane enforcement at the same time under long term governance of one party, people cannot have a voice to express their opinions, this caused people be discontented with the government. This will damage the stability of the nation and the international image. Moreover, some effects caused by the policy like aging population are actually undermining the ability to maintain economic growth and develop sustainably.
Because of these, this paper suggests that the Chinese government should abolish the policy. However, it should not be done in haste. As China is a big country and has 1.3 billion population, any small changes in the policy can create large effects to the society, even to the world. The Chinese government has the responsiblity to protect its people, so the governemnt needs to avoid all risks in policy-making process. Therefore, the policy should be relaxed gradually, for example, it can be changed into Two-Child Policy or totally abolished in some particular regions. Finally, it should be totally abolished in the whole country.
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