One- Child Policy and Beyond
The population of China has grown so much in the past decades that the government declared it to be out of proportion. China has been declared as the country with the highest population all throughout the world. It has an estimated population of about one thousand- one hundred-thirty three point six million. As a matter of fact, studies show that the population of China will reach 1. 557 billion in 2043. Due to this alarming situation, the population growth, the sex disproportion problems, the newborns and the elderly population should be taken more seriously by proper authorities (Xinhua News Agency, 2004).
When the Republic of China was founded, it had a population of less than six hundred million people. The 1950’s leaders of Chinese government viewed a big population as an asset to the country but then the population started growing so fast they are hit with the reality that the larger the population, the bigger the liabilities are. Since August 1956, several population controls were enacted by the government starting with the project of mass control efforts by the Ministry of Public Health. This effort proved futile because if the little impact it generated fertility.
There was a moment of time when the government did not encourage and enforce population control efforts and after a few years later, they resumed their efforts when they saw that the population growth was a great hindrance to economic success of the country. During the 1960’s, another propaganda was developed by the government. It gave more focus to the advantages of late marriage. In 1964, several Birth control centers were established in the cities and in the provinces of China. This campaign proved successful in the cities because the birth rate was drastically reduced into half during the 1963-1966 (Countrystudies.
us, n. d. ). . Birth Control Policies and Programs Sometime during 1972 and 1973, birth control propaganda was managed by the State Council. Several teams were established nationwide in order to monitor and ensure the efficiency of the program. In rural provinces, information about contraceptives was distributed to people and in the cities, the security headquarters were swamped with population control departments. By the mid-1970’s, the government set growth objectives for the administrative and family units.
In cities, the standard was set at a maximum of two children per family and in the country; there should be a maximum of three to four. Other family planning methods such as late marriages among couples and wide age gap between children are encouraged as part of the population control program (Countrystudies. us, n. d. ). Other means have been used by China in order to limit the population growth. During the 1980’s, people were forced to undergo sterilization process if they already have two children. In the middle of 1983, the process of vasectomies and ligations have become widespread.
The government resorted to these measures because they are of the view that the growth of the economy would delay the growth of the population. Many problems arose because of the population control programs enacted by the government. These programs did not prove to be successful and were difficult to carry out. The public officers assigned to check population growth falsified their findings to evade chastisement. These strategies led to underreporting of child births by more than twenty percent ( Unomaha. edu, 1999). China’s One Child Policy
In 1979, Mao Zedong, a strong advocate of family planning, gave birth to the one child policy concept. The government started a one child limit per family for the city and country and in case of special circumstances they allow the family to keep two children. The one child policy was enforced by the government in order to maintain the population at the range of 1. 2 billion until year 2000 (Rosenberg, 2009). In order to encourage and guarantee strict enforcement of the one-child policy, the government will give benefits and rewards to couples who follow it and penalize those who did not.
Families having only one child will be given a “one-child certificate” which will enable them to receive cash rewards, child care and housing assignments in exchange for their pledge to only have one child. The families in the province of China were hard to convince thereby forcing local officials to result to rigorous birth control operation. Fathers having more than one child were forced to have vasectomies and mothers were made to undergo family planning measures to ensure the prevention of having another child. There was more pressure to adhere to the policy in the rural areas.
In order to keep track of the family planning efforts, teams were organized and divided to closely monitor and guarantee the success of the program. Members of the team made house to house visitations to check the standing of the families. They also gather data as to who among the women were using contraceptives and the type of method used and if ever they still become pregnant while using that type of method. They would like to monitor which family planning method was efficient. The teams report regularly to the leader and document the date gathered.
There was a strict mandate to follow the one child policy and in order to meet the target, couples who were planning to get married were told to wait, women who have unexpected pregnancies were forced to abort the babies and those who have two or more children were made to undergo sterilization process or use contraceptives (Countrystudies. us, n. d. ). The National Population and Family Planning Commission of China (NPFPC) is the governmental agency responsible for monitoring the population and family planning procedures in the urban and rural provinces of China.
They organize information dissemination regarding family planning and conduct visitations to monitor the progress (Colenso, 2009). The success of the policy is much prevalent in urban places. People who live in urbanized cities know the repercussions of having big families and even without the one child policy; they took the initiative to raising an only child. The responsibility of raising children is becoming more difficult because several factors. People who wanted to have families must have at least a good income to finance the needs and expenses of the family.
Families having one child were given preference in terms of housing distribution (Countrystudies. us, n. d. ). Exceptions to the one-child policy The policy is not applicable to all Chinese citizens, by way of exceptions, to the one child policy rule does not apply to members of the ethnic minority groups, families whose first born child have disabilities which can be a big hindrance to working in the future, those who became pregnant after adopting a child and those who are in danger of cutting the family line short or those whose first born child are girls (Access Asia, n.
d. ). Oppositions to the one child policy contends that its enforcement constitute a violation of human rights. On the other hand, China continually believes that the implementation of the one child policy was necessary taking into consideration the circumstances when it was first enforced. In the late 1970’s, the economy of China was in peril because of the population explosion and the government had to make drastic measures to improve the bargaining power of the country in the world market and they trusted that cutting the population is the solution.
The restriction on child birth provided good educational opportunities on the family’s only child. Positive effects of the one-child policy The one child family has been a success in terms of reaching its objective. Statistics show that the population decreased by approximately three hundred million. Due to the success of the program, the policy has been a bit relaxed nowadays. Families are now allowed to have two children although they still need to seek permission from the authorities.
According to the authorities in China, the one child policy will still be enforced until 2010 in connection with the original five year period (Rosenberg, 2009). The Chinese government also claimed that they raised the people’s way of living by keeping the growth rates to a minimum. The State Family Planning Commission said that the tap water coverage has increased to a huge amount of percentage over the last fifteen years and the coverage of natural hot gas has also risen. As added incentive, medical insurance were given to women who follow the one child policy.
In addition, the government claimed that the life expectancy of an individual also increased from thirty five up to seventy and the newborn mortality rates also decreased (Unomaha. edu, 1999). Adverse Effects of the one-child policy China believed that their big population gets in the way of their economic growth so they came up with the one child policy program. This policy has been enforced since the late 1970’s until today and although it fulfilled its purpose by decreasing the population growth, its implementation caused certain adverse effects.
The one child policy has resulted in the disproportional ratio of thirty two million boys than girls below the age of twenty. This adverse effect created a very wide gap between the two genders thereby giving China a great deal of excess men. Studies show that the gender disparity is adamant in children below the age of four. One of the causes of distortion was the exception to the rule that in rural places, families are allowed to have another child if the first born was a girl (Medical News Today, 2009). Sex-selective abortion is also among one of the reasons why there is a huge gap between the ratio of men and women.
As of today, the government of China is aware of the potentially disastrous effect of this gender imbalance. The increased number of men and scarcity of women may be the cause of upsetting behavior among men and it can be the cause why some men struggle and are unable to have a family. The shortage of females may also result in kidnapping and sexual abductions in women; it may also lead to prostitution which will lead to the rise of sexually transmissible diseases in the country (Hesketh, Lu & Xing, 2005). The increase in ratio of elderly people is another result of the one child policy.
The percentage of people who are more than sixty five years of age in China is soon to rise and is expected to hit approximately more than fifteen percent by the year 2025. The rise of retirees paves the way for another emerging problem in China which is the pension funds. If China does not have enough pension to cover all these elderly people, monetary reliance on their children is an extreme necessity because the children are suppose to take care of their parents and grandparents. The rise in numbers of families who will be responsible for a child is at an average ratio of one child to four parents (Hesketh, Lu & Xing, 2005).
Since males are considered more precious in China rather than females, infanticide and selective abortion became a widespread practice. These are also some of the undesirable effects of the policy. Couples are forced to abort and kill babies if they do not prefer the gender. Even though a number of rules have been issued against prenatal gender determination, growth has been detected in the use of ultrasound equipment which came to China in the early 1980’s. The number of illegal abortion in the country cannot be confirmed but it cannot also be denied.
The divorce rate is also in danger of increasing in number because if the baby turns out to be a girl, some men want to marry another woman in order to have a baby boy (Chan, D’Arcy & Ophaso, 2006, p. 6). Another unintended outcome of the one child policy is the “Little Emperor” Syndrome. The only children in the families grow up not used to sharing love and attention to others; they have the tendency of being spoiled. The obesity rate in children are also growing in numbers due to the several factors one of them being the little emperor syndrome (Chan, D’Arcy & Ophaso, 2006, p.
7). Studies show that one fifth of one billion obese individuals come from China. Because of western influence from fast foods, it is estimated that the obesity rate will continue to increase by 2010. The change in diet and healthy lifestyle will have drastic effect in the health of Chinese who have been once famous for their good eating habits (Potts, 2006, p. 362). The one child policy also has its impact in the fertility rate of individuals. The changes in leadership in 1956 had some negative effects on the fertility rate.
The fertility rate of Chinese people is continually being affected by the home preference including changes in the role of mothers in the society, changes in health care and education. The methods used by the government such as the late-age child bearing and the longer waiting in between births were found to be successful at first but as the implementation became lenient, the fertility growth failed to decrease in response to the government’s endeavor. Studies show that the low fertility rates are a product of an undesirable shock to agricultural productivity.
Empirical data shows that preference shocks have stimulated long fertility phases in China. History shows that the consistent fall in fertility are primarily based on the change of preference and that population control is not enough to support economic progress without experiencing changes in preference (Colby. edu, 2008). China’s one child policy takes its toll in the country’s supply of labor. The country has been known to have a huge supply of inexpensive labor and due to the one child policy; this supply will be soon at a shortage.
The number of workers become inadequate and limited and as a result, labor will soon be more expensive that before. When this happens, the country will then be forced to cut its labor-intensive projects thereby affecting the economy. The idea that labor cost will become expensive does not look to good for China because the labor expense will be less viable thereby paving the way for its competition in other labor intensive countries such as Bangladesh and India (French, 2006). Several commentaries were made about China’s one child policy.
An American expert said that instead of helping the economy, the policy may be losing the economy millions of dollars. The President of the Population Research Institute, Steve Mosher said that by preventing the birth of millions of people, China made itself poorer. The birth of every child makes its impact in the labor supply of China. The mistake that China made is that they equate the population to poverty. The labor industry already felt the unfavorable effect of the one child policy.
He further commented that at first, people believed that huge population would hinder economic growth but the past four decades prove otherwise. One of the most significant source of wealth and success of an economy is labor (2008). Alternatives to the one-child policy In order to temporarily address the effects of the one child policy, the two-child policy was initially put into operation in urban places in order to permit couples who only have one child to have another one. This policy was enacted to prevent the sudden decline of population and also to enable couples to try having two children from opposite genders.
The government believes that allowing couples to experience having a male and female child will lower the risk of prejudice against female children (Chan, D’Arcy & Ophaso, 2006, p. 14). The two child policy aims to double the birth rate and close the wide gap between the elderly and the children. Increase in the number of children would mean more support to the elderly. It would also lessen the “Little Emperor” syndrome because the attention would be split in half to both children.
This policy is different from relaxing the one-child policy because this still puts a limit to the number of children families can have (Chan, D’Arcy & Ophaso, 2006, p. 15). The one child policy was enacted as a solution to the overwhelming population in China. More than three decades later, this solution was viewed as a success in terms of lessening the population but it gave rise to several problems which now seemed alarming to the government. The new challenge for the Chinese government now is finding an alternative solution to control the population because there is more danger in continued enforcement of the policy.
This is the time for China to carefully consider and reevaluate their options in order to address the issues regarding the population as well as its adverse effects not only for the economy’s sake but also for the development and welfare of every child in the country. References Access Asia. N. d. One Child Policy. Retrieved May 1, 2009, from http://www. asiaeducation. edu. au/china/virtual/lesson/gilligan. htm Chan C. , D’ Arcy, M. , Ophaso, F. 2006. Demographic Consequences of China’s One- Child Policy. International Economic Development Program Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan.
Retrieved May 4, 2009 from http://www. umich. edu/~ipolicy/china/6)%20Demographic%20Consequences%20of%20China%27s%20One-Child%20Policy. pdf Colby. edu. 2008. Fertility Control. Retrieved May 4, 2009 from http://www. colby. edu/personal/t/thtieten/pop-chi. html Colenso, M. 2009. What is China’s one-child policy?. Howstuffworks. Retrieved May 1, 2009 from http://people. howstuffworks. com/one-child-policy. htm/printable Countrystudies. us. N. d. Population Control Programs. Retrieved April 30, 2009 from http://countrystudies. us/china/34. htm Ertelt, S. 2008. Population Expert: China’s One- Child Forced- Abortion Policy Hurts the Economy.
Lifenews. com. Retrieved May 4, 2009 from http://www. lifenews. com/int787. html French, H. 2006. As China Ages, a Shortage of Cheap Labor Looms. The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2009 from http://www. nytimes. com/2006/06/30/world/asia/30aging. html? pagewanted=print Hesketh, T. , Lu, L. , Xing, Z. 2005. The Effect of China’s One-Child Family Policy after 25 Years. The New England Journal of Medicine. 353, 1171-1176. Maps. unomaha. edu. 1999. Population Control and Consequences in China. Retrieved May 4, 2009 from http://maps. unomaha. edu/Peterson/funda/Sidebar/ChiSample Essay of PapersOwl.com