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Two-Child Policy in China

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------------------------------------------------- iNDIVIDUAL RESEARCH PAPER
December 15, 2015

December 15, 2015

Introduction 2
Literature review 4 Proponents 4 Opponents 5
Advocate for the two-child policy. 6 Promoting consumption 6 Solving population aging problems 7 Balancing skewed sex ratio 7 Boosting the real estate 8
References 9

China has resolved to put an end to the three-decade-long one-child policy and each couple are allowed to have two children. Shortly after the announcement of the two-child policy, the article in appendix was written by a professor at Shanghai Academy in China Daily to advocate for the policy. And the target persons are citizens in China who meet the two-child policy requirement. The author used specific statistics to elaborate the population aging problems in current society (Logos). He demonstrated objectively that the two-child policy will benefit China both in the short run and long run and explained the benefits from improving demographic structure problems, boosting development of the service sector, strengthening domestic consumption and increasing innovation (Qu, 2015). The article was published at the right time when the two-child policy has been hotly debated. It would attract attraction of people who focused on this topic. And the author suggested the authorities put the two-child policy into force with assistance of more supportive policies as soon as possible (Kairos).

At the beginning of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the population boom, regarded as a strong basis of economic growth, was encouraged by leaders. They believed that more people meant that greater manpower would be applied to production. A few decades later, the fact that limited food could not satisfy the large number of people. Therefore, the one-child policy officially went mandatory in 1979 with the purpose of slowing the population growth rate and controlling the mushrooming population size. In keeping with this policy, couples were supposed to gain permission from local officials first if they wanted to have a baby. And anyone who was against the one-child policy would be confronted with various punishment, including unemployment, fines and forced abortions. Even more surprising, in the earlier time, some local governments took criminal actions to kill newborn babies in order to follow the one-child policy. It was estimated that this policy had prevented approximately 400 million new births.

Although government leaders’ original intention was using this policy as an emergency policy, the Communist Party of China (CCP) carried on this policy regardless of great changes in economic and demographic structure. As a result of the one-child policy, aging population brought about many kinds of problems in the society, which led to pressure on the government for change. In order to alleviate aging population problems, Chinese government relaxed the two-child policy step by step. The rules vary by districts and there are lots of exceptions existing. The main exceptions in the late twentieth century are ethnic minorities, rural residents and when both parents are only children. In 2013, the government implement the new looser policy that if one of the parents is single child, an allowance will be granted to have two children. This had pushed up birth rates and aroused more civil desire for having second children. In 2015, the government announced that all couples are allowed to have two children. It would have significant influence on the history and ease aging population problem to a large extent.

Literature review
The two-child policy is a highly controversial topic currently and the bone of contention is whether it really benefits personal development and national progress. Both proponents and opponents prevailing in society will be illustrated specifically.
(Data from: The World Bank)
(Data from: The World Bank)
Growing concern about shortage labor has appeared in society. Data from the World Bank reveals that the total labor force comprising people ages above 15 in China grew more slowly than countries upper middle income (World Development Indicators, 2014). As is well known, labor force is one of the vital parts of the market of production. The two-child policy will promote higher population growth to deal with this problem. Wang Pei’an, the vice-minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission said, “The number of new births will definitely increase in the coming years and we estimate that the peak will be over 20 million newborn babies” (Yang, 2015). It is believed that this will unleash economic vitality.

In some ways, the one-child policy is a violation of human rights having struck the balance between generations. Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund Babatunde Osotimehin said, “I hope the universal two-child policy announced by China last week will lead to the fulfillment of what he characterized as a basic right for all individuals in China to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children” (Shan, 2015). The implementation of two-child policy not only permits parents to choose the number of children but also gives rights to children to grow up with siblings.

Moreover, the two-child policy will help reduce human trafficking. Chen Shiqu, director of the anti-trafficking office of the Ministry of Public Security said that, “Because having a second child is allowed, it will decrease the demand for purchasing children. This can prevent trafficking” (Xie, 2015). Chinese families usually prefer sons to girls and some of them tried to get a boy at all costs. In China, thousands of children were trafficked every year and most of them are boys. The new policy gives all parents another chance to get a baby.
Victor Gaspar, an economist at the International Monetary Fund said, “The pronatalist policies seem to have only modest effects on the number of births. For example, in Germany, policies to encourage births in the 1970s had only short-lived effects, and the introduction of parental allowances did not have a noticeable impact on the fertility rate, which remained at 1.35 (births per woman) over the past decade” (Zheng, 2015). Additionally, some rural districts have lagged behind, and the large new population added will bring about great pressure on the limited educational resources and medical treatment.

In fact, many people against the two-child policy fear that it would cause a population explosion which would generate new demographic problems.

Cheng Enfu, head of the Marxism Research Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, deemed that China should adopt an even stricter one-child policy. He said, “China’s population development and policy design is at a crossroads. Though the aging population is an issue, relaxing family planning policies isn’t a desirable solution” (Xie, 2013). He mainly hoped the total population should be gradually decreased to 500 million.

Lu Jiehua, a sociology professor from Peking University, thought that most leaders were anxious about the two-child policy. “They’re especially considering the per capita GDP,” he said. “After the policy is relaxed, there might be a short-term population boom. Officials worry about per-capita GDP being diluted” (Xie, 2013).
Advocate for the two-child policy
In consideration of current situation, implementation of the two-child policy will help solve increasingly striking social problems in the long run. I will be explain it from slower-growing economy, population aging problems, gender imbalance and housing bust in details.
Promoting consumption
The change of population policy is believed to rise the demand for goods and services and investment. Parents always provide children with best things within their scope of financial capacity in all aspects of life. A few years ago, experts predicted that it would cost more than 480 thousand RMB to raise a child to his eighteen. Nowadays, with the improvement of living standard, money spent on the second child will be more than double compared to total cost on the first child. By reason of soaring growth of babies, capitalists will display great initiatives in investing in such industries related to child-raising as infant formula, children education and child-care service.
Solving population aging problems
The great change of demographic structure that has been shaped for over 30 years is on account of the one-child policy. And problems of population aging has become increasingly obvious in recent years. On the one hand, the rapid increasing number of elderly poses huge burden on families and it took a great amount of social wealth to develop welfare services for senior citizen. On the other hand, the shrinking number of young adults caused the labor shortage as mentioned above. After implementation of the two-child policy, the care and support of aged parents will be shared by two children, which will lower the financial burden on a single child. And the fast growing population can be considered as complement of lack of labor. Hence, the two-child policy will solve the problems of aging population in the long run.
Balancing skewed sex ratio
Since implementation of the one-child policy, the sex ratio has continued to be distorted. Traditionally, many families in China prefer boys to girls. They attempted various ways to have sons at a risk of being fined. Even worrisome, many female fetuses would be aborted if their parents knew their gender through illegal inspection. This is the main factor leading to more males in current society. Today, parents will not mind so much about the gender of the first child for the reason that every couple has a chance to have another child. Moreover, parents who already have sons would also like to have the second child no matter what gender, because it is believed that children with siblings will grow up with less aloneness. Therefore, the two-child policy will balance the skewed sex ratio efficiently in the long run.
Boosting the real estate
As more couples will have two children, demand for houses will increase sharply. Since Chinese parents always want their children to receive the best education, they will prefer school district houses near outstanding schools. Though the price is very high, those apartments near better schools are often in great demand. What’s more, one more child in family means that partial resources belonging to the first child will be occupied. Some affluent parents are quiet likely to buy larger new apartments for better development of children. The two-child policy will ease the current national housing bust.
By comparison, the two-child policy will bring about more benefits than disadvantages. The policy will ease a good deal of social serious problems, such as population aging problems, skewed sex ratio, and housing bust. And it is believed that government will also take new actions to control those negative effects. (Word count: 1689)
Qu, X. (2015, 11 5). Two-child policy to balance demographics. Retrieved from China Daily:
Shan, J. (2015, 11 7). UN official lauds childbirth policy. China Daily, 4.
World Development Indicators. (2014, 11 4). Labor force, total. Retrieved from The World Bank:
Xie, L. (2013, 8 26). Resistance to a Two-Child Policy. Retrieved from The Economic Observer:
Xie, W. (2015, 11 6). 2-child policy to ease kid snatching. Retrieved from Global Times:
Yang, W. (2015, 11 5). Couples fave wait for "second-child" policy. China Daily USA, 6.
Zheng, Y. (2015, 11 7). IMF: More than 2-baby policy needed. China Daily, 5.

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