Case Study: China’s Population Control
In 1979, China passed their One-Child policy in an effort to decrease their major overpopulation issue. This policy prevents most couples from having more than one child, although there are exceptions. Most ethnic minorities, such as the Hui, are allowed to have two children, & those that are an ethnic minority & live in rural areas are allowed three. Although these people can, by law, have more than one child, it is still encouraged that they choose to have only one. This policy has prevented approximately 250 million births, according to Laura Fitzpatrick of TIME Magazine. Although China’s One-Child policy is helping to reduce overpopulation, it is also causing many unethical practices, making it more detrimental to the population than beneficial. These ethical issues are important because they could affect other countries in the future, including our own. In this essay, forced sterilization & abortion, a growing gender imbalance that causes trafficking & neglect of female children, the growing aging population, which doesn’t have enough young people to care for them, consequences of not following the law, & possible solutions to these ethical issues will be addressed.
The first ethical issue is forced sterilization & abortion. During the past week, dozens of women in southwest China have been forced to have abortions even as late as nine months into the pregnancy, according to evidence uncovered by NPR. China's strict family planning laws permit urban married couples to have only one child each, but in some of the recent cases — in Guangxi Province — women say they were forced to abort what would have been their first child because they were unmarried. The forced abortions are all the more shocking because family planning laws have generally been relaxed in China, with many families having two children. Liang describes how they told her that she would have to have an abortion, "You don't have any more room for maneuver," he says they told her. "If you don't go [to the hospital], we'll carry you." The couple was then driven to Youjiang district maternity hospital in Baise city. "I was scared," Wei told NPR. "The hospital was full of women who'd been brought in forcibly. There wasn't a single spare bed. The family planning people said forced abortions and forced sterilizations were both being carried out. We saw women being pulled in one by one." The newspaper noted thousands of Chinese people in the area have already agreed to become sterilized, potentially fearing the governmental reprisals that await them for refusing. Chinese officials have come under fire over the last week for a massive campaign to attempt to sterilize as many as 10,000 people for violating the nation's one child rule. The family planning rule has seen the nation subject people to forced abortions and other human rights abuses.
Another major issue is the growing gender imbalance. Gendercide is a neologism that refers to the systematic killing of members of a specific sex. This is what experts are describing what’s happening to China as millions of families resorting to abortion and infanticide to make sure their one child, because of China’s One Child Policy, is born a boy. The age-old bias for boys, combined with China's draconian one-child policy imposed since 1980, has produced what Gu Baochang, a leading Chinese expert on family planning, described as "the largest, the highest, and the longest" gender imbalance in the world. For centuries, Chinese families without sons feared poverty and neglect. The male offspring represented continuity of lineage and protection in old age. After the Communists took power in 1949, Mao Zedong rejected traditional Malthusian arguments that population growth would eventually outrun food supply, and firmly regarded China's huge population as an asset, then with an annual birth rate of 3.7 percent. Without a state-mandated birth control program, China's sex ratio in the...
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