To what extent can the One Child Policy be regarded as a success?
In 1979, China had an estimated 1.3 billion inhabitants. At this time, China contained approximately ¼ of the total population of the world. China’s growing economy and huge population created a huge strain on its carrying capacity and China had to come up with a solution to slow the birth rate down rapidly. In a drastic effort to put an end to the problems, the government started the One Child Policy. The policy meant that all families were allowed a maximum of one child. If they broke this law and conceived another child, the family would have to pay a huge fine, usually the amount of their yearly wages. In some severe cases, the baby was forced to be aborted or had to be sterilised.
The One Child Policy had good intentions; however, there were some problems that the government didn’t anticipate. Firstly, with families being forced to have only one child, they wanted an heir and this meant needing a boy not a girl. Also, if the families lived in rural areas, boys would be a lot more helpful. This meant that the amount of forced abortions in China increased dramatically if the family discovered they were having a baby girl. This also meant that young men wanting to find the wife had an added problem of the gender imbalance. For every 100 girls there were 119 boys born and it is thought that by 2020, there will be 24 million eligible bachelors searching for a wife. Also, as a result of the decreasing birth rate, China now is faced with the problem of an ageing population. Already 22% of Shanghai’s citizens are over 60 and by 2020, it is thought that this figure will rise to 34%. Therefore, there are fewer economically active people to support the ageing population. Another issue is the 4-2-1 family. This is a family of 4 grandparents, 2 parents and 1 child. The child is consequently forced to focus being economically active but also looking after their family emotionally. As well as this,...
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