China's One Child Policy - Success or Failure?

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China’s One Child Policy: Success or Failure?

In 1979 led by Deng Xioping The People’s Republic of China, located in South East Asia, implanted what is called China’s one child policy or (as referred to by the Chinese government) the family planning policy. This policy restricts married, urban couples to bearing only one child and 35.9% of China’s population is subject to these restrictions, mainly those in urban areas as couples living in rural areas are allowed to have two children, especially if the first child is female or disable, as well as this ethnic minorities are exempt from the policy. However today 90% of all urban children and over 60% of rural children are growing up without any siblings.
During Mao Zedong’s rule, the policy in China was “the more people, the stronger we are” which led to extreme over population (a population verging on 1 billion during 1979/1980) and famines. However when Deng Xiaoping took power in 1978, his policies concentrated on strengthening the Chinese economy and he saw China’s overpopulation as a obstruction in the way of economic development. As well as this the policy hoped to alleviate social and environmental problems (such as stretched resources in certain regions) within the country, however the primary objective of the policy was to decelerate the rate of population growth. The initial goal of the policy was to limit China’s population to 1.2 billion people by the year 2000.

Enforcing the Policy

Many of the prevailing criticisms of the One-Child Policy is that it is an abuse of Human rights, and many oppose the core principle of the policy, claiming a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On a provincial and regional level, government agents police the situation, enforcing the regulations. Theoretically speaking, the policy is voluntary, but the government impose punishments and heavy fines on those who do not follow the rules. Parents with extra children can be fined from $370 to $12,800 depending on the region and if this fine goes unpaid, even stricter rules have been enforced in some cases, such as the removal of land, loss of jobs, destruction of homes and not allowing a child to attend school. In one extreme case, a woman in the 1980s pregnant with a second child, was fired from, had a forced abortion, and was then sent to a psychiatric hospital, and was still in a labour camp in the early 2000s. Although this seems extreme, it should be assumed that since this incident, which occurred in the early stages of the policy, most of this behaviour has died out now. However similar, though less brutal cases have been noted. As although the policy is supposed to involve eugenic testing which is policed and enforced through a system of economic disincentives and fines, there have been numerous reports of forced abortion, forced sterilization and infanticide, even in the last decade, for example it was reported that in 2001 an annual quota of 20,000 forced sterilizations and forced abortions were set for Huaiji in the Gundang Province for those who did not adhere to the policy of one child only.
However, China banned the use of physical force to for abortions or sterilizations in 2002, but it seems even official law cannot stop the brutalities, as there have been continuing reports of violence against women pregnant with a second or third child. However it’s not just the women who are in danger, if families hide from officials, their relatives were thrown into jail until the white flag was shown; even women with permission for a second child have been subject to violence. In some places the enforcement has been so harsh that the FPA (Family Planning Association) had to give out brochures that detailed the “seven don’ts” of the policy, which included things such as not beating up people who have unplanned births and don’t burn down their houses.
Despite these horrific stories, the enforcement of the policy does vary greatly from place to place, so these stories cannot be generalised to the whole of China. Some provinces contain families with four or five children and can get away with it because the policy is either ignored or the fines can be easily paid.

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These are just a couple of the examples of hundreds of uses of propaganda used in China to help enforce the one child policy. The first one uses the word “him” which suggests that as well as advocating the one-child policy, some of the propaganda advocates a son instead of a daughter. Although these are examples of the tamer slogans and statues, there have been ones which bring across a much harsher message; Slogans painted on walls by the roadside have been both terrifying and unsubtle, such as 'Kill all your family members if you don't ...

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