Saturday, 2 February 2013

China's One Child Policy

China’s One Child Policy
Policy: It officially restricts married, urban couples to having only one child, while allowing exemptions for several cases, including twins, rural couples, ethnic minorities, foreigners living in China, the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau and parents without any siblings themselves. It is an anti-natilist policy.
·         Parents who have only one child get a "one-child glory certificate," which entitles them to economic benefits such as an extra month's salary every year until the child is 14. Among the other benefits for one child families are higher wages, interest-free loans, retirement funds, cheap fertilizer, better housing, better health care, and priority in school enrollment.
·         Women who delay marriage until after they are 25 receive benefits such as an extended maternity leave when they finally get pregnant. 
·         The one-child program theoretically is voluntary, but the government imposes punishments and heavy fines on people who don't follow the rules. Parents with extra children can be fined, depending on the region, from $370 to $12,800 (many times the average annual income for many ordinary Chinese). If the fine is not paid sometimes the couple's land is taken away, their house is destroyed, they lose their jobs or the child is not allowed to attend school.

When: Introduced in 1978 (3 years after Mao’s death) and initially applied to first-born children from 1979

By Who:
 Established by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping

·         Alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in China
·        - Control China’s burgeoning population – It was 940 million in 1976
·         Reduce the strain on scarce resources
·         After The Three Years of Great Chinese Famine where there were at least 45 million premature deaths from 1958 to 1962

Extent of its Success:
·         A spokesperson of the Committee on the One-Child Policy has said that approximately 35.9% of China's population is currently subject to the one-child restriction
·         Authorities claim that the policy has prevented more than 250 million births between 1980 and 2000, and 400 million births from about 1979 to 2011
·         This claim is disputed by two independent scholars, who put the number of prevented births from 1979 to 2009 at 100 million
·         In 1970 the average woman in China had almost six (5.8) children, now she has about two. The most dramatic changes took place between 1970 and 1980 when the birth rate dropped from 44 per 1000 to 18 per 1,000. Demographers have stated that the ideal birth rate for China is 1.7 children per family.

Moral Concerns and problems: The policy has been implicated in an increase in forced abortions, female infanticide, and underreporting of female births, and has been suggested as a possible cause behind China's gender imbalance. There have been accusations of the policy being enforced by torture and forced sterilization.
·         Mothers pregnant with a second child can be forced to have an abortion, even beyond the point where the foetus is viable, and can even be during labour
·         Parents want a boy as they are seen as better future earners, and they inherit property (according to archaic Confucius belief).
·         Many only children are spoilt by parents and this leads to poor communication and cooperation skills and an increase in type 2 diabetes.
·         If both people in a couple are both single children this can lead to family arguments as children have historically been caregivers in a country with little social safety net.
·         Lead to social conflict, high administrative costs and led indirectly to a long-term gender imbalance at birth.

·         Couples who flout the rules face hefty fines, seizure of their property and loss of their jobs.

Policies still in place:
·         A Chinese government thinktank is urging the country's leaders to start phasing out its one-child policy immediately and allow two children for every family by 2015
·         The foundation recommends a two-child policy in some provinces from this year and a nationwide two-child policy by 2015. It proposes all birth limits be dropped by 2020
·         Boosting social services for the elderly
·         Banned sex-selective abortion and rewarded rural families whose only child is a girl

·         Many demographers argue the policy has worsened the country's aging crisis by limiting the size of the young labour pool that must support the large baby boom generation as it retires.
·         Around 12 years ago, there were six workers for every retiree.  By 2030 it is estimated that there will be just two workers for every retiree. 
·         Increasing number of China's young adults are having to send their elderly parents to hospices because the burden of care is too great for just one child
·         Contributed to the imbalanced sex ratio by encouraging families to abort baby girls, preferring to try for a male heir.
·         If China sticks to the one-child policy, we are looking at a situation as bad as the one in southern Europe. Old people will make up a third of the population by 2050.
·         This policy is not sustainable as it has caused a wide range of social issues in China, as well as caused a major discrepancy between the number of boys and girls, leading to fewer couples in the future and therefore fewer children. The moral issues with this policy are also numerous, and China may need to change the way it enforces to become accepted by other countries that it could trade with. It has also created an aging population, and in the future this could lead to a high dependency ratio, greater number of illnesses and a higher death rate.  

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