China's One Child Policy

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In 1978 Chinese statisticians and demographers alerted the Chinese government leaders that due to the large flux in the population of Chinese young adults there would be a continual increase in the Chinese population of over 1% annually for foreseeable decades. This heavily populated future was not a sustainable or productive outcome to China’s goal of the modernization of the population. The future based on this population would inevitably slow down the modernization of China due to the demand for both financial and material resources and increasing population demands. In response to the demographers the Chinese government instated the One Child Policy, a policy set up based on rewards and penalties for those who abide by the policy of having only one, and under some circumstances two, children. The one Child Policy eventually evolved into a more solidified to a more drastic policy which required China’s Han ethnic group to only be allowed one child. Forced abortions and sterilization are both common outcomes for those who fail to abide by the policy. The families that tended to have more than the allotted amount of children tended to be poorer families which needed more hands to work, had a lower rate of survival, or were necessary to a family’s survival. Opposing that, the families that did follow the policy tended to be the richer and educated. These families were rewarded for following the policies that were put in place. The policy set up by the Chinese government shows a lack of human equality based on both class and gender, which has led to both social separation as well as the abuse of the populace.

The One Child Policy was originally set up as a response to the predicted population growth of China from the 1970’s to the decades preceding them. In the prior decades China had promoted birth control and made an effort to slow down the population growth. However with no solidified policy there was no repercussion from the government for following or ignoring the spread propaganda. However in China’s hope to bring forth an age of modernization they prioritized industrialization and steel production over farming and food production. This choice resulted in the food supply slipping to a point where it could no longer keep up or support the ever increasing population growth. By 1962 this lack of a sustainable food supply led to a famine that resulted in an estimated 30 million deaths. In the years following China continued to promote birth control and population limits, this time proving to be successful. In the following years, 1970 to 1976, the population growth dropped by half of what it was previously. This newly lowered population growth was not yet at the ideal level in the governments eyes. Thus the introduction of the first step in the One Child Policy was set in place in 1978, encouraging couples to have only one, or two maximum, child(ren). At the time Minister of Public Health, Deputy Qian Xinzhong stated in an analysis “At the existing rate of population growth, China will have a population of 1,300 million by the end of the century. If the population grows to such a size, we will be compelled to devote a considerable amount of financial and material resources to feeding the newly increased populace. That will inevitably slow down the four modernizations.” (Banister 184) China’s goals of lowering population growth were fast and extreme so that they could eliminate the possibility of an over-populace using up precious resources. Using propaganda tactics the Chinese government was able to convey an exaggerated negative effect of population growth. Not only was propaganda used to instill a fear of an increased population growth, but a system of rewards and penalties was set up to reward those who abided by the child limit, as well as punish those who chose to not follow the policy. Financial incentives were used to reward all the couples who took the One Child Pledge, including; a monthly cash payment,...
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