China’s One-Child Policy: an Infringement
of Human Rights
Extended Essay: Human Rights
School: Seoul Foreign School
Name: XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX
Candidate Code: 000166-XXX
Word Count: 3,835
On January 1st 1979, the Chinese communist government implemented a policy of birth-control. This is referred to as the ‘One-Child Policy’ which limits each couple to having just one child. The policy aimed at modernizing China by promoting social reconstruction and economic prosperity. However it also implies and results in a sacrifice of rights for the Chinese population who no longer have the freedom of choice regarding their family planning.
This paper attempts to analyze and evaluate the question “To what extent can China’s one-child policy be seen as an infringement of human rights, and how can it be justified?”. This is done by considering both the cultural relativist theory and the Universalist approach regarding the implementation of Human rights to understand the different interpretations. Furthermore, and most importantly, focus is placed on the foundation and execution of the policy, in regards to emphasize the notion that the right to family, life, security and liberty is denied as a result of the policy. Although the Chinese government claims that the policy is merely an advocated guideline which has gained mass support, the reality is that consequences of not complying to the policy results in punishments such as forced sterilization and abortions, or overwhelming fines. In addition, the consequences of the policy are discussed including the inequality of the gender ratio, along with the development of a hidden population, as these aspects trigger further infringements upon human rights. Although the policy may be justified through an economic and political aspect, it is a clear infringement of human rights and cannot be justified through a human rights perspective, hence is a violation against the rights of millions of Chinese citizens. Word Count: 278
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Universalist Approach versus Cultural Relativism
The Notion of Having a Choice and Its Consequences
Rewards and Punishments
Notion of Choice as Unobtainable
A hidden Generation
The Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Person
Exceptions to the One-Child Policy
Financial Incentives and Propaganda
China’s claim of recognizing the freedom of family planning
Reality of the Policy
Forced Sterilization and Forced Abortion
The Truth Behind the Euphemisms
Appendix I: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Appendix II: Testimony for Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing
China first implemented its ‘One-Child Policy’ on January 1st 1979. This evidently meant limiting every couple to having just one child (Population and Family Planning Law of the People's Republic of China). The policy was enforced by the Chinese communist government in reaction to the preceding Maoist era, as officials believed that they had to prevent the perceived threat on economic development (White 1). Instead of reconstructing the government to figure out a way to handle the vast population and lack of resources, the choice prioritized was to implement limitations on citizens’ intimate family lives and the right of choice portrayed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (see Appendix 1). This policy of birth-control was aimed at modernizing its nation through economic prosperity and social reconstruction and is still in action today. The policy may be viewed as successful as the Chinese Communist Party has said it has prevented around 400 million births up to...
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White, Tyrene. China 's longest campaign: birth planning in the People 's Republic, 19492005. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006. Print.
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