Population Control and Consequences in China
1. Problems associated with overpopulation
2. Population policy
o China's population control policy
o Other population control methods
3. Problems associated with population policies
4. Social and political consequences
5. Social and economic benefits
6. Future outcomes
Problems associated with overpopulation. China has the highest population in the
world, encompassing 1.2 billion or twenty one percent of the world's population (P.R.B.
7). China faces serious social and economic problems associated with overpopulation in
the years to come. Overly populated regions lead to degradation of land and resources,
pollution, and detrimental living conditions. The Chinese government has tried to find a
solution to the problem of increasing population with moderate success.
China's population control policy. The Chinese government has used several methods
to control population growth. In 1979, China started the "one child per family policy"
(Juali Li 563). This policy stated that citizens must obtain a birth certificate before the
birth of their children. The citizens would be offered special benefits if they agreed to
have only one child. Citizens who did have more than one child would either be taxed an
amount up to fifty percent of their income, or punished by loss of employment or other
benefits (Hilali 10). Furthermore, unplanned pregnancies or pregnancies without the
proper authorization would need to be terminated (Hilali 9). In 1980, the birth-quota
system was established to monitor population growth(Jiali Li 563). Under this system, the
government set target goals for each region. Local officials were mainly held responsible
for making sure that population growth totals did not exceed target goals. If target goals
were not met, the local officials were punished by law or by loss of privileges.
Other population control methods. Other methods that have been used by the Chinese
government to restrict rising population totals include birth control programs and
economic changes. In the early '80's, sterilization target goals were set and made
mandatory for people who had two children (Hilali 19). At its peak in 1983, tubal
ligations, vasectomies, and abortions amounted to thirty-five percent of the total birth
control methods (Hilali 20). In addition, the economy changed from primarily one of
agriculture to industry (Hilali 22). The government used this to its advantage; spreading
the view that economic growth would hinder population growth (Hilali 22).
Problems associated with population policies. There have been many problems
associated with the policies and programs established by Chinese officials. First of all,
these programs have been difficult to implement and have had little success. Local
officials in charge of growth totals, have falsified reports in order to avoid punishment
(Zeng Yi 29). Consequently, this has led to underreporting of the number of births by as
much as twenty-seven percent in 1992 (Zeng Yi 32). Moreover, compliance with the
birth-quota system has been low. Of the 14,808 infants born between 1980-1988, only
about half have been with a legal birth permit(Jiali Li 567). Of those born with a permit,
eighty-eight percent were first children born into families (Jiali Li 567). Furthermore, out
of the second children born, only eleven percent were authorized (Jiali Li 568). Lastly,
people of rural communities, who depend on having larger families to help with the
farms, have succeeded in finding ways around the birth-quota system (Hilali 13).
Social and political consequences. The Chinese government has also had to deal with political and social upheaval as a result of its strict policies. The United States, as well as
many other countries, have publicly expressed their...