Analysis of Chinas One Child Policy
China’s One Child Policy
The Earth’s population has reached 7 billion presently and the growth concerned with this rise has been exponential since the start of the 1900s. Sustainable urban living all over the world is essential so that all people alive at the moment have enough resources and our descendants also have enough to survive and live comfortably. However although we have enough to survive during this time period our requirements for sustainable living is over 3 x larger than it should be. Our resources are being used up rapidly and as our population increases exponentially we will face shortages as the demand for these resources constantly increase. On average a European dweller who would usually have a car and a small but beneficial working salary and may also live in a small house would use up more resources than one of the 2 billion poorest people in the world, however an average American would use double this therefore we can see that Americans consume a huge amount of resources which effects sustainable growth greatly. China, has managed to consume more energy resources than America in 2011, this is because China has recently seen a growth in its economy and is becoming an energy consuming, economic superpower. American individuals however still consume more energy; China has a much larger population than America and because of this it has large energy consumption, the one child policy has been in action for many years and is what is being used to control China’s population.
1. Using figures, explain why China needed to introduce the one child policy
It was essential for China to introduce its 1 child policy to reduce the population and fertility rates of the country. China has the largest population in the world and every year it grows by 10 million people. This growth puts a huge strain on the whole country, the government therefore tried to slow down this rapid population growth. To tackle this growth, the Chinese government introduced the one child policy, this meant couples could only have one child. In 1959 the average Chinese family had approximately 7 children! Without the policy the Chinese population would have easily risen to over 2 billion in the early 21st century.
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Key Reasons for China’s 1 child policy:
- If the Chinese did not decrease their population, they would not have enough jobs to go around, this would mean that people will be dwindling in the unemployment zone without any money to live on.
- Major Urban areas would become severely overcrowded, a big city area such as Beijing would have too many people concentrated in that area, especially since urbanisation in China has risen and by 2035, 70% of Chinese people living in China are expected to live in urban areas. That is over 700000000 people! This will result in sheer overcrowding; the country will not be able to provide homes for that many people. The country will have nowhere near enough resources to sustain this high population rate.
- Also by reducing the number of people in the country it will boost other aspects of social factor such as; tourism would become lucrative in China because there won’t be so many people overpopulating cities. Also children in China will be able to compete better in school so people who are not as bright will be able to stand a fighting chance of competing in education.
2. What methods did they use to persuade couples to limit their family size to just one child? (What are the key elements of the population policy? How does it work?)
The key element in the policy is the social child-raising fee that is implemented upon parents who have violated the law and had a second child. The fee is based upon the income a family receives. Richer people will have to pay more than poorer people. However as the rich has the money they willingly pay the fines against them if they have more than one child. However the poor become vulnerable as they have to pay a large sum of money.
- The Chinese government initially took physical action against policy violators and they carried out forced abortion and sterilisation to make the population submit to the campaign through fear and communism.
- They always implemented huge fines but in recent years the fines have become even greater especially for the rich. It is based on each family’s level of income.
- China has promoted contraception and many sexual health clinics have been set up around the country. There is free contraception available.
3. How were the methods employed received by the outside world? What issues and conflicts became evident?
It instantly became evident to the world beyond China that their 1 child policy violated human rights in a huge way. Forcing a family to reduce the numbers in their own family is not a governmental right in many people’s eyes. It is up to the couple on how many children they want! The International Conference of Human Rights states that; humans have the right to choose responsibly, the size of their families. Many of the Chinese government actions completely shocked the world. One of the many stories that have disgraced the outside world was the eradication of many human foetuses’ in pregnant women who already had 1 child or more. Some women who were 8 months into pregnancy were forced to abort their children to agree with the policy. Also many women who managed to have their child born, had their child taken away from them and killed, this was a truly cruel act that the Chinese government overlooked completely. In 2002, the Chinese government introduced the law that there could be no physical attempt to stop women having children e.g. abortion or sterilisation, however nobody can be certain that this has completely stopped and the government seemingly only introduced this law to discontinue any global human rights outrage. A woman known as Feng Jianmei was a woman who had her foetus forcefully aborted. She posted graphic pictures to show the world that this clear discrimination of human rights was taking place in China. She gained global recognition to reopen the debate about the actions of the Chinese government.
It is evident that:
- The Chinese government overlooked the human rights act and let their law enforcers be cruel and violent to women producing another child.
- The world finally knows how shocking China’s policy is and in recent years, China has had to reassess the ways in which they deal with women producing more children than the policy allows.
- Human rights campaigns have now become more evident across the world, these campaigns protest against any human discriminative acts such as the harshness of the one child policy.
4. Evaluate the evidence (using facts and figures) for the success of the policy. You should consider, ways in which the policy has been successful and unsuccessful. Think about social, economic and environmental aspects.
Chairman Mao was convinced that a large growing population was the key to China’s success until his death in 1976. Deng Xiaoping the man who took his place wanted to reverse his idea and reduce the population to enhance the superiority of China.
- The main aim of the policy was to reduce the number of births in China and it had succeeded in that sense, this is because over the past 30 years China has had 400 million less births.
- Because population has been the big concern for China the past 30 years there are many health care policies that help Chinese people deal with their family and health issues. China has seen a decrease in the death toll regarding the number of people who die in childbirth. There are also family planning clinics that offer free advice to women such as pre – natal classes; they also offer free contraception to further control China’s fertility rates.
- People’s individual income in China has seen an increase due to the policy. This is because the ageing population see that they now have fewer people to care for them in their old age, so the older generations are saving up for an easier life in the future. Also because families are smaller that means there is more disposable income rather than spending the money on more children.
- The key to the main aim of the one child policy was to increase economic growth. China has seen this as natural resources are in les demand so that money can be saved on imports. Unemployment rates are low and the Chinese population have also seen an increase in human rights.
In these aspects the policy is seen to be a success, however there have been many flaws and China must rectify these by considering human rights!
5. How has China modified the policy in recent years?
In recent years the policy has been greatly enforced especially in urban areas. In rural areas there have been changes because people living there tend to be poorer than most of the Chinese population that live in urban populations. Rural family’s maybe allowed to have a second child if there first born is a girl or is in some way physically or mentally disabled. Other families that violate the policy will have to face large penalties against them.
- In 2007 approximately 36% of Chinese had to abide by the one child policy.
- More than 50% of China’s population were allowed a second child, if there first born was a girl or disabled.
- 10% of Chinese were allowed two children regardless of their genders.
- 1.6% of Chinese people could have had as many children as they wanted.
The one child policy was initially used for only one generation to be affected so that China’s population would experience a quick decrease in population. The Chinese government however have seen it to be a success and have accepted it as an ongoing policy.
China has become more lenient in recent years with the one child policy. During the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 many people died including first born children in the one child policy. Parents, who wanted a second child having lost their first, were allowed by the Chinese government to have a second child without penalties.
Also citizens of China who are part of the ethnic minorities, such as all non – Han ethnic groups have different laws regarding their numbers of children. They are allowed two children whether they live in rural or urban areas. This is in order to stop any racial segregation in China.
The ideas that have been carried out to improve the policy like the ones above have been received positively by the outside world.