Name: Yu Huang
ID code: 111356
Lecturer: Jeroen Hol
Table of contents
Today, China is comforted the largest country in the world. The population of China is 1,354,040,000, which is confirmed by Chinese government in January 2013. China as the most populous country in the world has formulated a great national policy for population for population controlling, which is called One-Child policy, in 1970s last century. This great population policy has made big efforts on controlling Chinese population. Undoubtedly, One-Child policy has made historical contribution on the development of China in 34 years. Although Chinese One-Child policy controls the population growth effectively and contributes to Chinese economic development at the initial periods of implementing this policy, the One-Child policy still generates more and more negative impacts on current development in China. What is One-Child policy?
During the administration of Chairman Mao Zedong, the crude birth rate decreased from 37 to 20 per thousand (Appendix, figure 1), infant mortality rate reduced sharply from 200 per thousand to 50 per thousand from 1945 to 1970 (Appendix, figure 2). In addition, life expectancy at birth increased from 35 years in 1945 to 63 years in 1976 (Appendix, figure 3). Until the 1960s, Chinese government encouraged families to have children as many as possible, because Chairman Mao believes in that "more people, the stronger we are". Therefore, Chinese population had a large increase by this encourage policy. In 1979, Chinese government started out an ambitious program of market reform, in order to change the situation of economic stagnation which is caused by Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. Meanwhile, China had a quarter of the world's population, who were occupying 7 percent of World's arable land. Two third of the population is of the population was under ages 30 years old, and the baby boomers who were born in 1950s and 1960s were entering their reproductive years. (Lu Li, Weixing Zhu, 2005) The government saw the economy could not develop without the restriction of population. Therefore, One-Child policy was introduced in 1979. The policy consists of a set of regulations on controlling sizes of Chinese families. These regulations includes the restrictions on family size, late marriage, childbearing and the spacing of children (in case in which second child is allowed). The One-Child policy restricts urban couple is allowed to only have one child, the second child is allowed in several cases, which includes twins, ethnic minorities and couples who are both only children themselves. In most rural areas, couples are allowed to have second child if their first child is a daughter. Because of the traditional preference for boys or their first child suffers from physical disability, mental illness and mental retardation. However, the second child is subject to bearing space, couples are allowed to have second child after three or four years they give birth to their first child. After the One-Child policy was launched, "have less children plant more trees" was encourage by Chinese government. Population and Family committee at each level of government need to raise awareness about the issue and take charge of inspection work of One-Child policy. Because of One-Child policy, contraception and abortion are used universal. Positive impact of One-Child policy
Undoubtedly, Chinese Only-Child policy controls effectively on population growth in China. After One-Child policy was introduced, the government set a target population of 1.2 billion by the year 2000, although the real population is more than this target number, the growth rate of population and fertility rate decreased after conduct this policy. Chinese authorities claim that policy has prevented 250 million to 300 million births. In addition, the total fertility rate declined from 2.9 in 1979 to 1.7 in 2004. In 1980, share rate of Chinese population in the world was 22.8 percent, but in 2000, the proportion rate was 20, 84 percent, 1.24 percent has decreased. According to the population forecast, by 2050, proportion rate of Chinese population in the world will reduce from one fifth to one seventh. From 1980 to 2000, because of the family planning dividend, China not only GDP has increased 5.4 times，but also the total human capital storage has increased doubled. This provides most important strategic assets for China in the world competitive environment in 21 Century. Negative impacts of One-Child policy
However, many unexpected consequences, which are generated from One-Child policy, need to be taken into consideration for future development. Nowadays, One-Child policy has more negative impacts than positive impacts on many aspects of Chinese development. For instances, ageing problem and lacking labor, unbalanced sex ratio, , human rights violation, heavy family burden and little emperor behavior. Ageing problem
One-Child policy has leaded to ageing problem and lacking labor problem in China. The fertility rate decline has produced a rapid aging population. Due to the One-Child policy, the fertility is lower, and fewer children are born. The Chinese administration claimed, One-Child policy could prevent 4 billion populations in 30 years. However, only half of amount has prevented in this policy-implementing period. Although the estimated number is not reach, fertility rate still decrease. Therefore, 2 billion young labors have decreased, due to the One-Child policy. The population structure becomes disproportionately older well in this century. Rapid aging leads to absence of a standard of living and unsafe social net compare to other aging societies. As the ageing problem, which means more and more people who are older than 60 years old live in China, Chinese government meets new challenge on national health care and welfare. Chinese government is forced to redistribute income from workers to older people, in order to pay their heath care and living expenses. Ageing problem also makes China become the distinct country before being rich. In 1975, the share of population aged 60 and above was only 7.6 percent, and aged 65 and above was only 4.9.(Wang Feng,2005) After 2 decades, in 2005, the population growth rate is the half of the rate what was twenty years ago, because of One-Child policy. However, according to the population statistic from China's census in 2000, the population aged 60 and above risen to 10.5 percent and population aged 65 and above risen to 7.1 percent. Comparing to western industrialized country, the population of aged 60 and above is one-half that of western industrialized countries, but Chinese per capital income is only one quarter to one fifth that of those countries. Because of One-Child policy, Chinese urban couples will experience more serious ageing problem than rural couples will. (Appendix, Figure 3) Today, around 15 percent of urban population is aged 65 and above. In two decades, by 2025, this aging level of urban population will reach 23 percent. Moreover, 35 percent will be reached in 2050. However, in rural areas, the level of population level will lag behind than in urban areas in 10 years. Until 2030, the population age 65 and above will not reach 15 percent. The ageing population causes a high percentage of retired people. A high percentage of retired people can be seen as a big disadvantage for long-term economic and strategic competition, because it reduces the economically productive proportion of the population and increases the burden on the working population to support the elderly. Sex ration imbalance
Sex ration imbalance is also one of the negative impacts from One-Child policy. With the implementation of the One-Child policy, the sex ration began to increase unbalanced, it became to rise lopsided in past twenty years. This is because the One-Child policy allows rural couples can have second child if their first child is daughter. It also causes by the traditional preferences of boys. In Chinese traditional preference, only boy can bear the whole family, the girl is not allowed to bear the family. Nowadays, this traditional preference is still important for Chinese families. Therefore, if rural couples have girls as their first children, they will have second chance to give a birth of boys. Some parents even resort to sex selective abortion, which was banned in 2004, in order to have the child-desired sex. Millions of girls were aborted to satisfy China’s traditional preference for boys. At the same time, some girls are uncounted or “missing” because they are hidden by their parents from government officials and are unrecorded in censuses and surveys. Moreover, baby girls also suffer from victims of infanticide, abandonment and deliberate neglect. In past twenty years, male infant mortality rates declined 35 percent more than female infant mortality. (Wang Fang, 2005) Since the sex ratio imbalance, there are more boys and fewer girls in China now. In 1982, the sex ratio at birth was 108 boys to every 100 girls, already above the normal range of 104–106 boys per 100 girls. (Wang Feng, 2005; Appendix, Figure 4) After 2000, the sex ratio is 120 boys to every 100 girls in average. That means in 120 boys, there are 20 boys could not marry, because of not enough girls. It can be seen, in the near future, too few girls and surplus boys result in a large amount of male could not find girlfriends and get marry. Families who have sons might face problems of lacking offspring. To the contrary, girls could find boyfriends in abundant resources. On one hand, girls do not need to worry about if they could not find husbands in the future. On the other hand, Girls may waste too much time on finding partners, because they do not have chance to grow up with brothers and learn about boys firstly from brothers. As a result, they might miss the best age of marriage.
Human rights violation
Since the enforced abortion is adopted for One-Child policy, the human right is violated by determining on family size. After One-Child policy is launched, people are no longer able to decide on family size by them own. According to a proclamation of the International Conference on Human Rights published in 1968, "Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and the spacing of their children." Billions of lives were killed by abortion, in order to follow the regulation. In thirty-four years of implementing One-Child policy, 250 million Chinese babies who would have been born but never were. (Jeffrey Kluger, 2013) Therefore, One-Child policy violates human rights of parents and babies to some extent. Chinese women are under the pressure of One-Child policy. A woman is allowed to give birth of one child in the family. If the family wants to have second child, they will be imposed extra fine for the birth permission of the second Child. Otherwise, the woman will be forced aborted by government. A woman, Feng Jianmei, was force by local officials to abort her second child, a seven-month-old fetus in June 2012. The forced abortion was carried in Zhenping County in Shaanxi Province. Feng's family is demanded by local officials to pay 40,000 Yuan for the birth permission of their second child. This money is the fine for violating national One-Child policy. Feng's family was not able to pay the fine, so the local officials arrested Feng and forced her to sign an agreement to have abortion. They held her down and injected her with abortifacient. Feng was traumatized by the incident and in poor health afterwards. She was also being watched by guards in the hospital and was not allowed to leave. After a few days, Feng's family posted pictures of Feng and her stillborn baby on the internet. The pictures caused a widespread attention of social public opinion in all around world and drew national and international attention to the issue of forced abortion. Therefore, the Chinese government makes investigation on Feng's incident. The result of the investigation showed, although Feng was illegal to have second child, her human right was violated by local family planning bureau. As a result, two local officials were fired and five others are punished. After Feng's incidents, China announced they would send inspection teams across China and monitor the practice of Family planning committees. Feng's husband Deng litigated the local authorities, but they settle out of the court in the end. This incident shows a big drawback of Chinese One-Child policy. Undoubtedly, forced abortion is used everywhere in China for keeping One-Child policy. It is not only physical harm for women, but also spiritually harm for them and their family. Little Emperor behavior and Heavy Burden
The One-Child policy cause the 'little emperor' behavior of only child and heavy burden of child. Only 27 percent of people who were born in 1975 were only children, but 91 percent of people who were born in 1983 were only children. Since the girl or boy is the only child in the family, he or he gets all attention from family members. The child gets the chance to study in the best school, wears all best clothes and shoes and eats all best food. The child does not need to share anything with others; he or she gets everything best. If the child grows up under this situation, although he or she has cousins in the family, he or she will form a thought that he or she is the most important one. The child who is the only child in the family is more selfish than the child who has brother or sister. Because they do not have chance to share things with brothers or sisters, and they do not learn about how to share things with others when they were young. That is the "little emperor" (Xiao huang di in Chinese) phenomenon, a generation of indulged children who believe they stand in the center of the social universe, because they have been treated like that for so many years. In 2004, magazine Fortune explored the problem, the magazine interviewed teachers and employees who complained that child-policy children never learn how to eat bitterness. They think child-policy children are easy to be disappointed and are frail when they are in trouble. A kindergarten director said, "Kids these days are spoiled rotten. They have no social skills. They expect instant gratification. They are attended to hand and foot by adults so protective that if the child as much as stumbles, the whole family will curse the ground." (Jeffrey Kluger, 2013) A research conducted by a team of researchers from various Australian universities, compare people who were born before 1979 and people who were born after One-Child policy. The ages of those members are from 29 years old to 37 years old. The investigators asked them to play four kinds of social experiment games, which are the dictator game, the trust game, the risk game and the competition game. The result showed people who were born after One-Child policy are more pessimistic, nervous, less generous, less conscientious and less competitive and more risk averse. They also less trust others than people who were born before One-Child policy. The One-Child policy children also feel heavier family burden than children who were born before One-Child policy. The One-Child policy children have to provide support to their parents and grandparents. One child needs to support two parents and four grandparents when he or she becomes an adult. If personal savings, pensions and national welfare of the older generation fails, the single child has the responsibly to support them for their daily life. The pressure of single child is heavier. In order to response to this issue, the Chinese government decided that couples are allowed to have two children if both parents were only children themselves by 2007. However, the consequences of the policy were highlighted after the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, when many of the mourning parents not only lost their children and the opportunity to have ever offspring, but also lost the support of their family when they are old. In many cases, it was already too late to have a second child. Conclusion
It can be concluded that we could not negate the great contribution, which is made by One-Child policy. In thirty-four years, policy-implementing periods, One-Child policy has controlled population growth effectively, and less population grow has boosted the rapid economic development in recent 30 years. However, the negative impacts, which are brought from One-Child policy, cannot be overlooked. The ageing problem already causes the problem of lacking young labors. It will affect the current development of economy. Moreover, if the problem of sex ration imbalance and human rights violation cannot be solved, the society will not develop in correct and balance way. The little emperor behavior and heavier family burden are related to the education of new generation. Therefore, those negative impacts need to be taken into consideration by Chinese administration; otherwise, those negative impacts will restrict the development in China. The administration of China should adjust or reform the One-Child policy based on these impacts and national conditions for the future development.
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