During the 1970s, China felt the indenting need for a drastic policy that would be able to control its ever-expanding population and to begin development in its country and thus the one child policy was born, if the policy had not been instituted china would have faced severe famine and starvation as it would not have been able to cope with rapid growth.
The policy was administrated in September 1981 and they called it ‘birth planning’ by which families were given a maximum limit of one child per family however in rural areas, couples were allowed to have two children and this was to help need on agricultural land and farming; those who try to breach this law would face severe consequences.
The policy was considered as one of history’s ‘most ambitious pieces of social engineering’ as quoted from The Economist since the policy heavily intervened with families plans for the future and affected how most chines families would function in terms of having children.
The policy governed by the Chinese government was said not to last no longer than a single generation and yet here in 2013, the policy still continues to proceed and there are little or no signs of a new policy or removal of this policy from the country. Administration Of Policy The policy in china was very drastic and therefore it contained many punishments for anyone who tried to breach the policy and the government also deployed many forces of administration to make sure that people were being monitored and that no one was trying for a second child.
There were family-planning workers in every single workplace to grant families the ability to have a child if they had been on the waiting list and also at this point the couple would be presented with a special card which gives them authority to claim governmental benefits such as free education, free kindergarten facilities, free healthcare etc. on birth of the child.
Police called the ‘granny police’, who were not actual police but represented the role of making sure woman were practicing using contraception and to had the objective of reporting on pregnancies so that the local authority would be able to work out whether a family is trying to have a second child illegally. Female women were also given education on the use of contraception and this was to try minimising the amount of unexpected pregnancies.
Family planning officials levy huge fines of up to ? 20,000 from those who try to have a second child and this fine account for the estimated value of public services that the forbidden child would have received over its lifetime. Furthermore, in some areas the couple would have been stripped of their house, jobs and even the ability to live in a particular area of the country. Also in earlier time they would have been forfeited their rations and clothing benefits.
Furthermore, women would have been given forced steralisations or contraceptive pills and their chances of being able to have children ever again would be removed if they were found guilty of trying to have a second child and this would impose that they would never be able to have a child even if they decide to migrate to another country. This kind of steralisations was only existent in certain provinces of China and it is currently completely abolished from all parts of china as it was considered to unforgiving for a punishment. Changes Generated by The One Child Policy.
Without need to say, the obvious: the one child policy had caused a drop in the fertility rate in China. From the starting point of the policy in 1981 to now the birth rate has dropped from an above average 2. 9 to 1. 7 and this has lead to understand that the policy was successful and that it has tackled one of the country’s main concern which is an ever-expanding population. Furthermore, this drop has claimed to prevent up to 400 million births, which would otherwise have kept China’s population at 1. 7 billion currently compared to the 1.
3 billion that it actually is today. However, despite showing a drop in birth rate after the beginning of this policy, there are statistics that show that China’s fertility rates fell drastically during the 1970s and that the policy did not influence the drop in birth rates much. This suggests that the fertility rate was naturally decreasing so there was no need for the policy. This suggests that the policy did not control the country’s population greatly because the fertility rates had dropped severely just before the commencement of the policy.
Therefore the implementation of such a severe policy has now indented Chinese people’s concept of families and even if the policy was to be removed people will still continue to have few children and this would not have been the case if fertility rates were allowed to naturally decrease to make the population eventually stable much alike how most other countries have progressed through the demographic transition such as Russia, Germany and Japan.
The rapid fall in fertility rate just before the one child policy is clearly shown in the graph that is on the previous page; the graph was taken from the GapMinder webpage which holds information about the world demographic and thus is very reliable. Another negative impact of the one child policy was a case of female infanticide. In fact, this is an interesting concern as it has lead to china presenting a population where there are about 120 Chinese men for every 100 Chinese women and thus there is a shortage of women. There was a severe amount of female infanticide for several reasons.
Firstly a male child was seen as more superior for the use on farmland and for the use on agricultural land as men were seen as stronger characters compared to women. Secondly, only the male would be able to carry forward the family name and in China there was a great cultural desire to carry forward a family name to keep the family advancing through generations. Finally, men are usually the main income-earners, either because they are more employable or earn higher wages for the same work, or because they are able to do more agricultural work in subsistence economies.
Since male babies have a greater income potential, they are more desired over females and thus female births were usually abandoned or killed. There are some stories of extreme discomfort where female babies have been flushed down toilets and drowned, as they were not considered valuable to Chinese family. Furthermore, the shortage of females in China has lead to a generation where there are “too many men”, and this was caused by the desire to have a male child in the family.
The result of the one child policy has meant that there are 1000 million women whom would else be existent if the policy wasn’t introduced and thus this social engineering has converted the a balanced gender country into an imbalanced country with more men. This has lead to desire to import woman known as human trafficking where women are smuggled using from Burma and North Korea and the women are used as prostitutes or sold as wives and domestic servants in parts of china.
This is a negative outcome of the policy by which women are used inappropriately and are illegally imported from other countries. Furthermore, it is expected that by the year 2030 there could be up to 20-30million bachelors in chine whom are unable to find a partner and this would further increase the desire and temptation to want female prostitutes and this will create an illegal transportation of women to china from neighboring countries.
Another disadvantage of the policy is that a generation of not enough children is developing in china and this results in not enough children to look after parents which could mean that the country could grow old before it is able to develop it’s economy and becoming rich by limiting the mouths to feed as it is trying to do so using the one child policy. In china this lack of children is called the ‘4-2-1’ dilemma and as The Economist suggests this is where each couple has the job of looking after four parents and one child.
This creates a dilemma as the couple’s parents become aged and need the help of the couple and thus the couple have the cost of having to look after their parents all on their own as they would not have any siblings and thus china has created a problem for families trying to develop as they will have a shortage of money to spend elsewhere in the economy to try boost the countries development stage.
The imbalanced structure of china’s population also hints that the working force will come to an end by 2020 and therefore this would mean that the country would not be able to further develop and this has again raised pressure on the Chinese government to introduce further amendments to the one child policy.
For example, Hu Jintao suggested allowing more than one birth but between longer gaps and also the scrapping of the birth quota so that couples could still have a child even if the maximum number of children in a certain area is reached. This would help to regain a large population of workers in the future generation to continue with the countries development without having to deal with another expanding population.
The article presented by The Economist has dealt with many defects of the one child policy including the extortionate amount of female infanticide, the illegal need for a second child, female imports, ‘4-2-1’ issue and the fact that the country could have still developed without the policy as statistics showed that fertility rates were naturally decreasing as people become more educated and this would therefore have reduced to country’s large population and allowed the country to develop as the government would have to feed fewer people and also if the policy had not been introduced there would not be effects one some females lives who have been sterilized permanently after the birth of the first child because this would prevent the mother from having another child ever.
Also, the Chinese government are now unable to scrape the policy because they have not alternatives that could be administrated on the scale of the one child policy and therefore the government suggests ‘we will stick to the family-planning policy for decades’ and this implies that the removal of the policy would have a considerate difference on China’s population and that it could possibly improve the gender imbalance which is not of great interest to china as demographers suggest the removal of the policy would suggest a rapid increase in population once again and this would mean that the country would not be able to achieve its goal which is to become a well developed country with a high GDP. The charts below show what would happen to china’s population and its structure by 2050 if the policy was to be removed and as the first graph clearly suggests, the one child policy has been heavily successful in maintaining a smaller population and emphasis should be placed on the fact it is just a smaller population.
Although, the population is smaller the structure of the population between men and women and groups of elderly, working class as well as those under 15 is highly imbalanced and as the chart on the right clearly imposes, if the policy was removed the demographic structure will become more balanced once again.