EssaysForStudent.com - Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes
Search

China’s one Child Policy

By:   •  Research Paper  •  1,735 Words  •  March 17, 2010  •  1,012 Views

Page 1 of 7

China’s one Child Policy

China’s one child policy

China has a history of over 5000 years making it the longest continuous civilization. In the fourth century BC, the population of China became the most inhabited region in the world. After the fall of Rome, it stayed the most populated region under on government body for the rest of history (Hooker; Matthews 35). In 200 BC, the population was a few million. By 400 AD, the number of people in the Chinese Empire was 50 million. It leveled at about this number until 1500 when the population gradually began to increase steeper and steeper. The head count was more than half a billion people when the People's Republic of China was formed in 1949. The Communist government asked the public in 1971 to limit their children to two. When that failed to keep the population down as it had reached one billion in 1982, China began a population control law (China's Only Child).

A country that has expanded 900 million people in the past century is simply growing too fast. The government attempted to launch two separate population control campaigns in the early '50s and again in the early '60s. Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong remarked that the large population was a "good thing" and it could continue to grow and multiply "many times" without slowing down national development (Matthews 36). Those birth control drives failed because of Maoist skepticisms and popular resistance. Then in 1979, the Chinese government tries population control again, now under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. Many demographers wanted zero population growth and an eventual reduction in the population to well below one billion where living standards are much higher and adequate (China's Only Child).

Compared to the United States, China's population is now 4.5 times greater but has only a total area slightly greater and just half the available farmland (China's Only Child). Even with the large total area, 95% of the population lives in Ѕ of the country, the east. Most Americans or Europeans cannot even imagine the crowdedness and low living standards of the common Chinese family before modernization. To control the amount of people in cities, rural citizens used to have to obtain permission to go to urban areas (Matthews 40).

The estimated average life expectancy at birth in 1949 was 35 years. It then grew sharply to reach 63 years in 1975. Along with that, the infant mortality rate decreased and fertility stabilized at about six children per woman (Bergaglio). As a result, the population soared for many years.

Many problems arise when the population is too high. The country simply cannot accommodate for all those people. In the 1982 census, almost ј of the nation were illiterate. 80% of the population lived in the countryside back then. Most of the people are therefore undereducated peasants in the labor force (Matthews 35). Population control is the only plausible solution.

When the one-child policy went into place nationwide, there was inevitably going to be some resistance. Many felt it was a violation of human rights but most thought of it as good for the country. When a local family planning official what would happen to a couple when they refused to sign the one-child-per-couple pledge, he answered, "All will sign the pledge (Matthews 37)." What this implies is forced abortions, even in the third trimester, and sterilizations if a second birth is made. Population control officials are said to conduct nighttime raids of couples houses suspected to have illegal children. The Chinese population control program also employs a network of paid informants that tell of unauthorized pregnancies by neighbors and co-workers (United States House Committee 5). Some couples also had to report that they were trying for a child and had to obtain permission so it would be added to a factory commune's yearly quota of newborns. For couples that managed to violate the rule, severe economic penalties, or 'social compensation fees', were applied such as no bonus or pricier education for the children (Reese). In rural areas, the policy is more lenient because the population there was more spacious. Rural parents are allowed to have a second child if the births are separated by at least three years.

Infanticide was also a problem in some places. The obsession with producing male offspring was a big handicap of the one-child policy. Many parents abandoned girls because they hoped for a boy. China has a history of favoritism for males because it's traditionally an agricultural country and as such, more hands in the fields are wanted. Parents also wanted boys because when they are old and retired, traditionally, males would settle close to their parents and bring home larger wages than the females. The government had

Continue for 6 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay China’s one Child Policy
Download as (for upgraded members)
txt
pdf