Anti Natal Policies – China and India
China’s One Child Policy
a) Why was China’s One Child Policy introduced?
The first modern census in China in 1953 showed that the population was at 583 million people. In 50 years time, the population had more than doubled to 1252.8 million people in 1999. The average family had three children, and the population didn’t seem to be slowing. The government was concerned that a rapidly growing population would put pressure on resources, so during the 1970s, tried to encourage family planning and delayed marriage.
b) How was the policy implemented?
If a couple only have 1 child, they could receive a 5-10% salary bonus, but having 2 would result in a 10% salary reduction. Having only 1 child meant that the family got priority in housing, education and health care. Couples also got higher pensions on retirement for only having one child. However, the penalties for having more than one child were very severe and many have criticized the One Child Policy for its claimed abuses of human rights. There have been many reports of the use of ultrasound foetus sex determination and selective terminations, as boys are still seen to be of more value than girls, especially in rural areas of China. Female infanticide has also been common, as well as child trading and infant abandonment. Many of the family planning providers have been accuses, following the birth of the first child, of forcing both late terminations and sterilization.
c) How successful has the policy been?
China's family planning policy has prevented 400 million births, this alone is a success as this added amount in China today would cause a serious strain on resources. However, the policy has severely changed the traditional Chinese family, from having many children to only one. There are still many Chinese people who do not and will not agree to only having one child, but overall, the policy has been very successful in stabilizing China’s population.
d) What are some of the implications of the One Child Policy on Chinese society today?
Due to female infanticide, the number of men is thought to outnumber women in China by more than 60 million, which means that by 2020, there may be 30 million men of marriageable age who will not be able to find a wife. This will cause major problems for the population. Because couples acknowledge that they will only have one child, they aim to bring them up in the best possible way, leading to many young boys being classed as ‘Little Emperors’ as they are spoilt by their parents. China now has an increasingly ageing population, which means that the elderly need to be provided for, for longer. With only one child to support both elderly parents, this is going to cause financial problems.