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One Child Policy in China

In: People

Submitted By zkorsen22
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Every country has its own perks, laws, and history that make it unique all on its own. Different things like slavery in America and Venezuela’s current issue on how the students of that country are fed up with the leaders and are taking a stand are just examples of what shapes a country into what it is today. In china there are many issues that shape it into the populous country it is but one in particular really boomed the way of living in china. The one child policy has become, at least in the west, china’s most controversial family planning policy.
During the 1970’s under Mao Tse-thung’s ruling, China’s population was increasing toward a grand total of one billion people. When Mao was ruler, Mao believed that of all things in the world, people are most import. With that being said, Mao at this point had advocated and even rewarded those “model mothers” who would give birth to the most number of children (Chai, 188). After Mao had passed, the next leader would establish the on child policy in 1979.
Deng Xiaoping back in 1979 put the one child policy into effect. This was done to limit the population growth in China. The policy strictly allows couples in china to only have one child with a few exceptions in some areas. If couples disobey the law and have a second child, they would be susceptible to heavy large fines. In addition to the fines, they can also lose their jobs and create dishonor on their family name.
The thought process behind the one child policy was to limit the number of births. The less people born, there are less mouths to feed and a better chance to prosper in china. According to the book “China A to Z” the population had grown from 500 million people in 1949 to 1.3 billion in 2007. Even though the policy did effectively slow China’s population growth, with 1.3 billion people in 2007, china still remains the most populous nation on earth. (chai, 189)
The one child policy was not the only way china tried to control the population in china. China has tried different ways to control the population and to ensure that the one child policy stays true. The Chinese government has had birth control programs where they hand out birth control to women all over the country to keep them from having more children. Every month the women in some parts of the countries have to meet up with an official to have them record their period cycle every month. Not coming to these meetings would sometimes result in severe consequences.
Another explanation for the stabilization of the population is the improvement of public education. Education has a direct effect on the desired family size of Chinese women. Illiterate women desire 3.1 children on average, those literate with below middle school education hope for 2.6, middle-school-educated women want 2.4, and those with a high school education or above desire only 2 children. Approximately 58% of illiterate women have not discussed family planning with their husbands (Li, 104). With the information presented in this book, the policy seems very feasible to any person with an education. Having an education makes you aware of what is going on around you and helps the person understand that you need money to continue with life.
In the 2000 censes, the male-to-female ratio was severely skewed showing 117 males for every 100 females born. It is also said that the ratio would have increased to 120 males to 100 females in the 2010 censes. (chai, 189)
The problem begins with the preference to have boys rather than girls. Since the policy strictly enforces that couples can only have one child, Chinese couples wants to make sure that they have a boy. In the eyes of the Chinese people, boys are more valued than girls. My friend’s grandmother is Chinese and even though she has a lot of love for all her grandchildren, everyone in the family knows that she favors the boys more than the girls. For instance, on Chinese New Years her grandmother gives out money in lucky red envelopes to everyone. Every year, she gives more money to the boys than the girls. When she cooks, she would serve the boys first and when there’s an argument, she would always defend the boys. Every time one of her aunts gets pregnant, her grandmother would hope that it’s a boy. If the baby turns out to be a girl, she gets disappointed. (Cheung, interview)
Boys are more valued because they carry on the family name. Carrying on the family name is a very important Chinese tradition. It signifies power, tradition and honor. The daughters will eventually get married and change their last name. Once daughters get married, they move out and take care of the in-laws. To the Chinese people, the daughter would no longer contribute to the family because they would have other responsibilities at their new home. On the other hand, if Chinese couples have a boy, the boy would be responsible to take care of his parents once he grows up and gets a job to financially support everyone. In China, men are known to be the leader of the family. They work to provide for the household so therefore; they get to make the decisions for everyone. If a family doesn’t have a boy or a man in their family, then that family is considered to be weak.
Aside from being males, when they are little boys, they are spoiled by their parents and their grandparents. The parents and grandparents raised the boys into spoiled, self-centered, lazy, and selfish men. The personality of these men will eventually affect the society of China. Because they are so use to doing what they want, these men who are selfish and self-centered wouldn’t want to follow the authorities. Instead, they would want to have control over others, which is common to an individual that favors communism.
Getting married and starting a family are one of the life’s goals all over the world. As a result, men who won’t get married and start a family can cause a severe social problem. Since many Chinese men wouldn’t be able to marry, they become angry and act violently to express their anger. These men would start fights, disturb businesses, and stop obeying the laws. Here in the United States, studies have shown that single men tend to commit more crimes than married men.
The government has weeded its way into the lives of all these Chinese families by implementing such a policy. There has been said that some families, in order to keep their other children, would go into hiding or even flee the country.
So the question is asked, “Where are all the girls?” When some women become pregnant for the second time or if she is having a girl, they would go into hiding in a secured place to have their babies. Once the baby is born, she would either keep the baby or abandon her. The newborn girls are usually abandoned on the streets, railroads, or in front of buildings where they can be easily seen. When they are found, they are put into orphanage homes. People don’t know where all the girls are because many of them are kept hidden from the government officials. These girls are “living on the edge of the law”. If they are founded, the parents can face severe consequences. To keep her, families would have to pay a lot of fines because they broke the law. Parents that are keeping their second child would have to pay up from hundreds to thousands of money to keep their child. In China, it would take almost 2 decades to pay the fines to the government because it is too expensive. Another way why there is a shortage of girls is because they are dying through neglect. In a family where they can afford 2 children with a boy and a girl, the boy will always get the attention first. If there isn’t enough food, the boy gets to eat first and the girl eats whatever is left. According to Stuart and Terry Hirschberg, if they are both sick, the boy gets more medicine and the girl gets less than half the amount of medicine. That can lead to death through starvation and not getting treated enough when they are sick.
Many of the girls don’t exist because of abortions. “Abortions have become a way of life.”(Hirschberg) In 1982, there was a mass production of ultra sound, which gives women a chance to know the sex of their baby. When a woman gets pregnant, she will get an ultra sound to find out the sex of her baby. If it were a boy, the woman would be overjoyed. If it was a girl, she would start thinking about what to do- about whether to have the baby or get an abortion.” Majority of the women would most likely choose to have an abortion. That way, she can get pregnant again and hopefully have a boy.
“About 10.5 million pregnancies are aborted each year with the majority of them being females.”(Hirschberg) The United States perform about 1.6 million abortions each year. Despite the fact that China has a larger population, China still has more couples or doctors. To them, both groups receive benefits; the doctors are making money and the couples can find out the sex of their child and go from there. Abortions have become such an issue that China made it illegal for women to get ultrasounds to identify the sex of the baby unless ultrasounds are needed for medical reasons. Although it is against the law, couples can still get ultrasounds if they are really determined to do so. They can get an ultrasound by “going underground, in the back of alleys, or illegal doctor clinics. From there, the couple can still decide if they want to get an abortion or not. Along side the issue of having too many people because of the birth rate being to high, the land of china is running out of nutrients making it harder to grow and harvest more food. Most families are farmer families that take care of a plot of land and grow food. But because of the population being so high, the land is becoming dry and becoming a dead zone. This being said, a lot of families are therefore growing hungry and tired and starting to perish because with out their harvest, they cannot make money, and without money they cannot live comfortably or even be able to eat because they have to sell anything they grow.
The government changed the one child policy in September 2002 to permit ethnic minorities and Chinese who live in remote and less populated rural areas to have a second child. (li, 104) With this change in 2002, more families have been able to stay in china while others that are noticing the population growth have even left to country to find less populated countries. A friend of mine, Bianca Cheung, is American born but is Chinese by heritage. Her family migrated from China on their own accord moving across the pacific to America.
When Bianca Cheung was asked, “With china being so crowded, do you think your experience is hindered when ever you return back to china to visit? Do you feel you could not do as much as you wanted to?” Cheung replies with “No I do not feel that way because ever since I can remember, china has always been like that so it’s normal to me. But because it is so crowded, the country is really dirty and it is quite embarrassing to me when I hear people talk about it.”
This policy in my opinion has helped out tremendously to fix the mistake that Mao had made many years ago. But the issue of over population is still ongoing and becoming quite alarming. The earth is said to have a population of 7 billion people at the moment with a max capacity of 9.1 billion people. It is said that we would reach the max capacity by 2050 making this one scary thought.

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