Geography: People's Republic of China and Free Health Care

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Discuss China in terms of being the “Middle Kingdom,” population growth issues, and industrialization.

According to www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/history/middlekingdom.html, the Chou people, unaware of high civilizations in the West, believed their empire occupied the middle of the earth, surrounded by barbarians. Hence, China is known as the Middle Kingdom. Again, according to Essentials of World Regional Geography by White, Dymond, Chacko & Bradshaw (2011), Chinese saw themselves in the center of the world. It is the most populous country. China is a rising economic and political powered country. Just like other large nations, this Middle Kingdom has battled population growth issues and industrialization as it rises.

Population growth in China is one of the most serious problems that China faced. It is the world most populous country with 1.33 billion people in 2008 and the third largest area. As the population of China rose, it was necessary for the Government to implement population policies to regulate its growth. Though the policies were implemented the population continued to rise despite the soaring death rate and the plunging birth rates that characterized the period known as the “Great Leap Forward” when China experienced severe famine.

To get this under control, China additionally implemented the one-child policy that was further instituted to decrease population growth. With this policy, growth rates fell from two percent per year in 1965 to one point four percent in the 1980 and to under one percent since 2001. The one child policy law officially restricted the number of children married urban couples were allowed to have. The government believed that this policy would alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in China. Today, authorities claim that the policy has prevented approximately four hundred million births from 1979 to 2011. The prevention of births policy makers have claimed, have resulted in less pressure on worldwide food supplies and in less pollution in major Chinese cities. The numbers of people living to old age also increased as life expectancy more than doubled from 35 to 74 years.

Population in China is marked not only by the contrast between environmentally different areas by also by the contrast between in the proportions of growing urban populations and declining rural populations. Today, China is experiencing urbanization of its people. In China Family, they took priority for the larger numbers of Chinese around this time. The one child policy included “stick” and “carrots”. Families who complied with the policies received certificates that enabled them to claim free health care for the mother during pregnancy and delivery, free health care and education for one child, promotions and better pay for parents of one child. Free family planning supplies and operations, and sometime free vacations. However, families who did not comply under this policy, lost free health care and education for the first child, received lower pay or lost their jobs and were excluded from social clubs and organizations. This brought much pressure and forced many abortions. Due to the fact that the policy was not evenly implemented it created problems in other areas. These involved killing; baby girls were killed at birth and women were imprisoned and subjected to late abortions. It is projected that by 2017 China population would decline under 500 billion people. Also a prediction stated that by 2050 with two children maximum the population would decrease another 1.5 million.

Like all other things, the one child policy had advantages and disadvantages. For example, the one child policy resulted in fewer births that place claims on resources, it brought slower population increase and a more balanced population structure in the early stages and it is important to maintain this process. On the other hand, it ignored cultural and economic factors that favour large families,...
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