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South Wirral Geography

China 1 child policy - Population - GCSE

Mr Newman

on 2 October 2013

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Transcript of South Wirral Geography

You are here to teach yourself about it...
China's One Child Policy
To know the reasons for and understand the effects of China’s One Child Policy.
What changes have been introduced since the 1990s?
What overall effect has it had on the population of China?
When was it introduced?
What were the penalties if the rules were disobeyed?
What were the problems?
What were the benefits?
What were the rules?
Why was it needed?

Using a double page of your books you’re going to create a spider diagram about China’s ‘one child policy’. Pay close attention to the changes since the 1990s
The one-child policy
A sustainable population is one whose growth and development is at a rate that does not threaten the success of future generations. Countries at stage 4 of the DTM with low birth rates and death rates are most sustainable as the economy is growing and standard of living maintained.

Stage 5 is not sustainable because population is decreasing and the elderly population is becoming increasingly dependent on the working population.
What is a sustainable population?
A 25 minute video about the policy
1. In 1949 the People’s republic of China was founded

1. Improving living conditions of the population was a priority for the communist government

2. The government improved food and water supplies, sanitation and health care

2. Between 1949 & 1988 China’s population almost doubled from 540 million to 1050 million
Rapid Population Growth
0.078ha of arable land per person – this is ¼ of the world average

Arable land was being lost at an increasing rate because of urbanisation.

2285m3 of fresh water per person – this is ¼ of the world average

There was a famine from 1958 - 61
Shortage of natural resources
Unemployment is a serious problem that China could face as population increases; it has grown from 1.8% in 1985 to 2.9% in 1995

The workforce will have expanded by 30% in the next 25 years

Despite the high rate of economic growth ¼ of the national income is used each year to cope with the additional population
Economic Implications
‘Breeding for the motherland’
Up until the 1970s the Chinese government regarded a growing population as a benefit in bringing about swift economic development. Mao Tse-tung called for ‘women to breed for the motherland’. By 1963, the average number of children born to a Chinese woman was 7.5.
Commonly known as Chairman Mao - he was the leader of the people's republic of china - a communist state, where everyone supposedly shares the wealth of the nation.
Even if the average family size was just 2, China’s population would double within 50 years
China’s population was increasing by
55 million
every 3 years
In recent decades, China's government has viewed population growth differently. With one-fifth of the world's population, but only 7 per cent of the world's arable land, continuing strong population growth would bring about great hardships, extreme poverty and famine.
China has over a billion people (1.3 billion) and a rate of natural increase 0.9% per annum. In 2025, it is estimated that the population will be 1,431,000,000 and by 2050 it will be 1,437,000,000. i.e. It will have stabilised. To achieve this China has had a one-child policy to limit the population growth in order to provide a long-term future in which all can enjoy a satisfactory standard of living based on the existing resources.  
Typical farming practices in Rural China
The one child policy, although not formally written into law consists of three main points.
advocating delayed marriage and delayed child bearing
advocating fewer and healthier births
advocating one child per couple
The Policy
Propaganda images, used to promote the policy
Without permission, a second child cannot be registered and, therefore, does not legally exist.
The official sanction for violating the one-child policy is a fine. However, the People's Republic of China (PRC) government acknowledges that it cannot always control how local officials enforce the policy. Because of regional population quotas, local officials have an incentive to keep the birth rate down.

Chinese women have reported being forced to abort a pregnancy or to be sterilized. Men have told of being severely beaten and having to send their wives into hiding to deliver children.
Policy incentives

Salary bonus (urban)

Bigger land allocation (rural)

Extended maternity leave

Paid medical and hospital expenses

Priority access to housing, employment and schooling for the child
Disobeying the policy

withdrawal of family allowance and medical benefits

fines (even against everyone in the village or town)

demotion or discharge from a government job
Exceptions to the rule

Membership of a minority ethnic group (can be allowed two or even more children)

Having a first child with a disability that is likely to result in inability to work

Pregnancy after adopting a child

Risk of 'losing the family line' without a second child (the first child being a girl)

Rural families with 'real difficulties' (all children so far being girls)
“Little emperor syndrome” – as boys are sought after by would-be parents, they are treated like royalty when they are born.
Pressure on women to find a partner is intense.
People are living longer due to improved health care and will have less family to support them. This will get worse as the cultural revolution “baby boomers” grow old with the one child policy generation after them
Ageing population
100 girls to every 120 boys born

- High rate of divorce among women whose one child is a daughter.
China has mostly girl orphans. Only sons can carry on the family name. The one child policy has resulted in severe increases in female infanticide due to a cultural bias towards males and aided by illegal sex selective abortions. The effect is an overflow of female children in orphanages that the Chinese government has been unable to support.
China’s population is expected to peak at about 1.5 billion around 2050 and then slowly decrease. As it does, the quality of life should improve.
The policy has now been softened due to a drop in the birth rate but will remain for another 10 years.
Although family planning must stay, its enforcement had become more relaxed and flexible, allowing for more categories of Chinese to be allowed a second child.
Only children who marry each other are allowed to have a second child.
The Policy today 1990s -2000s
Giving birth in China: being pregnant in Shanghai has its advantages
The first year, from the swelling of the belly to the reality of life with a baby, is a wild and testing adventure no matter where you live in the world. Tessa Thorniley, an expat living miles away from home in a country endlessly full of surprises and confusion who has the occasional unstoppable urge to do things the British way, shares the story of her son’s birth in Shanghai.

To the hospital, and step on it: a taxi may be your best source of transport when giving birth in China Photo: AFP/Getty Images
By Tessa Thorniley
7:00AM BST 02 Oct 2012

Being pregnant in China has its advantages. Among the most obvious are private healthcare (for those on expat packages) and being surrounded by people who want to make you eat chicken soup.

Within seven months of discovering I was going to have a baby, I had had five scans, including one using “4D” technology, which made the baby look so real I gasped out loud. The main difference between a 3D and a 4D ultrasound is time: 4D allows you to see a three-dimensional picture in real time, rather than delayed. The effect was startling and intimate.

My ayi at the time (an extremely bossy but mostly kind lady who came in to clean three times a week) insisted on making wholesome soups. And, even though my family was a long way away, after three years living in Shanghai, I had a good network of friends.

There are also some major disadvantages. The first, I discovered during the second scan, is an inability to keep the sex of the baby a secret. Assuming I didn’t understand a word of Chinese, my radiologist launched into a chat with my doctor about my good fortune in having a boy as my first child.

After speaking with a lot of other expat mums it appears that this is very common. The Chinese, who due to the one-child policy and a historic preference for boy babies are not allowed to scan for the sex of a baby, cannot understand why foreigners with no such restrictions would not want to know immediately.

But perhaps the biggest disappointment during pregnancy was the prenatal classes. Unlike Britain, where prenatal classes are designed to help new mums build a network of friends who are about to go through the same life-changing experience at roughly the same time, my Chinese classes were practical but left no opportunity for chatter. We sat in a yurt attached to a clinic, on rows of chairs in front of a midwife and were ushered off quickly at the end of each session. No mummy friends then.

Instead, I threw myself into preparations. It started with the compulsory trip to Ikea (which has a cult following in China) to buy a cot and changing table, and then snowballed. The culmination of my shopping spree was a business class flight from Heathrow with a Bugaboo stroller in my luggage. I refused to believe that I could find a safe, affordable alternative in China, even though the country’s largest pram manufacturer has a joint venture with Mothercare.

In the end, the stroller I had over-zealously shipped from Britain was one of a batch which had faulty wheels that had to be refitted because they were so dangerous. And my friend said she would have sold me her old one cheaply.


My life as a mother in China began unexpectedly on a warm June night in 2011.

In the morning, I had been to visit my Shanghai doctor, an extremely sensible American-trained Chinese lady who was the first choice for most of the city’s foreign doctors when they gave birth. She had warned me that I was having mild contractions and that I should go home and rest. No going out, no moving about, just bed rest.

I was annoyed about this because I was about to begin my maternity leave a full month before my baby was due. I had finished my last day of work. That night I had arranged to meet friends at a pub quiz. Instead, I was stuck at home alone as my husband gallantly offered to fill in for me.

About half an hour after he returned home, we were heading to bed when my waters broke.

As I waddled out of our Shanghai apartment into the lift, my waters continued to break. In the dark lane outside our house I squatted down and held on to a low wall while my husband dashed towards the main road to flag down a taxi. I managed to stand up just as the taxi’s headlights beamed in on me, prompted by a vague fear that he probably wouldn’t stop if it was too obvious I was about to give birth.

My baby, as the doctors confirmed in the hospital, was in a breech position so I had no option but to undergo a Caesarian section. There were no doctors that I knew of in China who could deliver breech babies and, despite my best efforts with mugwort (which, when burnt in cigar form and held near the little toe apparently has the power to turn a breech baby), the baby had remained head up since mid May.

It was about an hour and a half after I arrived at the private clinic that I was wheeled into the adjoining public hospital room for the birth.

The part I don’t remember, but which my husband recalls well, was the gaggle of Chinese nurses standing at the side of the operating room taking photos. Also, apparently my anaesthetist arrived with a bed-head and looking like he badly needed a coffee.

Finally, after much wailing from me and a messy time trying to pull the baby out, my doctor smiled at me and handed me my baby boy.

I noticed a fleck of red on her glasses. The first words I spoke as a mother were: “Do you mind if I pass out now”.


The first few days of my son’s life were spent in the clinic. As he was premature and the few clothes I had brought for him were far too big, the hospital staff dressed him in an assortment of equally ill-fitting sweatshirts with logos such as “Made in Shanghai”. The small hat he wore often slipped down to the tip of his nose.

We were very well cared for. I had nurses flitting around me constantly and a food delivery menu covering almost every restaurant in Shanghai, including my favourite high-end Mexican. I had heard of friends being discharged from hospital in Britain one or two days after undergoing a Caesarian section. I stayed a full five days and was only walking unaided in my final hours in hospital.

We returned to our Shanghai apartment to work on the art of parenting. It was an exhausting, exhilarating, sometimes lonely, sometimes overwhelming experience with my husband, new baby and a new ayi (a sort of cleaner, childminder and cook all in one). As the baby had come early, I had to wait about a month for my own mother’s scheduled arrival.

Had I been a Chinese mum my experience in those first few weeks would have been very different.

Strict Chinese tradition forbids new mothers from bathing or showering for the first month after birth, presumably because contaminated water was once common. Although few new mums now adhere to this ancient wisdom, many are expected to spend the first month resting indoors. Known as zuo yuezi or “sitting the month” it is postpartum confinement. During this time women are usually looked after by their family and are not expected to cook, wash or do any physical activity. But they are expected to eat five warm meals a day with ingredients like wolfberry (goji berry), pigs trotters, fish and bowl after bowl of chicken soup, all of which are believed to stimulate the milk supply, restore strength and prevent sickness.

For those who can afford it (one month costs between 10,000 - 15,000 yuan, or about £1,000-1,500) families will hire a yue sao, a qualified nursemaid who will also feed the baby at night. There are special post-birth hotels you can check yourself into for a month or more, if you don’t think your relatives are up to it. And special catering companies offer a three-meals-a-day home delivery service for new mothers. If I have another child, I think I may try this.
An article about the experience of pregnancy in China
How effective was China's one child policy
Gender Imbalance - too many men...
BBC news report about China's ageing population
A video from the National Statistics website, showing Britain's actual/projected ageing population (for reference)
Baby in toilet - 2013
In early 2013, a baby was discovered in a sewage pipe having been flushed down the toilet by a young mother. Some people have suggested this was an act of desperation by the mother, who would not have been allowed another child under the policy. Whether this is the case is open to interpretation. The baby survived and was eventually released into the care of relatives.
A couple of weeks later the baby was healthy and being cared for by relatives.
Firefighters in China have rescued a newborn baby boy lodged inside a sewage pipe leading off a toilet.

Residents of an apartment building in Jinhua city, Zhejiang province, called rescuers on Saturday after they heard the infant's cries.

Rescuers tried to pull the baby out of the pipe but failed and ended up sawing through a section of the pipe instead.

They took the pipe to hospital, where it was carefully pulled apart to release the infant.

The baby, thought to be just a few days old, was found inside a pipe 10cm (4 in) in diameter, the China Daily newspaper said.

Footage from state television showed firefighters and doctors working together using pliers to cut the pipe apart to get to the baby.

The baby is now in stable condition, reports say.
BBC news 2013

Full transcript