Introduction to China's One Child Policy
China has the largest population in the world - over 1.3 billion
In 1979, the government brought in the one child policy, in order to slow down the country's growth in population, so that the country would avoid any more crises, such as between 1959-1961, when a famine caused 35 million deaths.
One Child Policy
The policy said that each couple:
- must now marry until their late 20s
- must have only one successful pregnancy
- must be sterilised after the first child or abort any future pregnancies
- would receive a 5-10% salary raise for limiting the family to 1 child
- would havepriority housing, pension and family benefits, such as free education for the child.
Couples who disobey the policy would be penalised by having:
- a 10% salary cut
- a fine imposed - large enough to bankrupt many households
- the family would have to pay for the education and healthcare for both children
- second children born abroad are not penalised, but they cannot become Chinese citizens
Pressure to keep to the policy
Pressure to abort further pregnancies include:
- pay-cuts for the couple's colleagues if they don't persuade them to abort the baby
- 'Granny Police' have the responsibility in the community to keep everyone in line. The keep a regular check on couples of child bearing age - and even accompany women on contraception appointment to ensure they attend.
- Minority groups could become unsustainable under the policy, so are exempt from the rule
- In rural areas (where sons are needed to work on the land) a second pregnancy was allowed if the first child was a girl
Problems and Benefits of the policy
Why it is controversial:
- Women were forced to have abortions as late as the ninth month of pregnancy
- Women are placed under great pressure from themselves, families, workmates and the 'Granny police'
- Other people had power over other people's private lives
- Chinese society prefers sons over daughters, so some girls were placed in orphanages or allowed to die
- Chinese children have a reputation for being over-indulged (spoilt)
Benefits of the policy:
- Population growth has slowed down
-there are enough jobs and enough food
- Approximately 400million fewer people have been born
- Increased technology and exploitation of resources increased standard of living
Changes to the one-child policy
- Young couples who are both only children are allowed two children
- Government workers must only have one child (to set an example)
- Women have more time to focus on their careers, so have achieved more
- This means the attitude to the daughter has improved
- With increasing wealth, more couples can afford to break the rules and pay the fine.
- There is gender imbalance as some girls have been rejected
- There are 60million more men than women, and so not all the men will be able to marry