China’s one-child policy…35 long years later


Source: Agence France-Presse

Introduced in 1978 but applied in 1979 is China’s one child policy. The aim of this controversial policy is to control the population growth of China, which saw a doubling increase during Mao Zedong’s rule, when couples were encouraged to build up a large family, who would consequently join the armed forces or contribute to the increase of the workforce. This policy was meant to be a temporary way to control births, but 35 years later, it is still a present-day nightmare of many couples and ever since its application, the policy has been characterized by very strict punishments for those who don’t abide by the rules. Chinese couples are allowed to have only one child in urban areas and two in rural areas. Also, some exceptions are made when twins are born; ethnic minorities are also allowed to have more than one child. The decision to have more than one child will have a high price as couples will have to pay for the education, housing, health and many more perks that only children have for free.  This policy has brought about many controversial debates on whether is goes against human rights and the loss of sovereignty of their bodies by the women.

The one-child policy is reinforced by a “social compensation fee” which is ranging from 3-9 times a household’s annual income. That may devastate poor couples financially. If the pregnant women is unable to pay, she is forced to terminate. The statistics are drastic. According to International Business Times, within 42 years Chinese enacted more than a half-billion birth-control procedures, including 336 million abortions. It is hard to imagine such things in Europe or America. Most of us think that abortion is an immoral act and should not be allowed by governments. However, there are some opponents. “The state needs to stay out of social issues like abortion.”-said Kaye Kory, Fairfax Democrat. Is it really only a social issue? I think abortion is a murder. It is a deprivation of the highest value: a right to life.

The policy has many negatives characteristics to it. First and foremost it has caused a booming increasing in the number of abortion of female fetuses and serious human right violations.
The reason behind this is the traditional thinking that boys are better than girls. Baby girls are neglected, abandoned and many times even killed.
Sterilization and abortion are common birth control methods to avoid fines and so called “illegal births”. Even though, these methods can cause various health problems.
In some cases, women are forced to go through these operations and this is against basic human rights. Everyone should have the right to control their own bodies. Mandatory abortion is common because there are a lot of women, especially in the countryside who can’t afford the fines. No women should be forced to do it. Forced abortion is against the law in China but still happens.
Almost every one of the pregnant women I spoke to had suffered a mandatory abortion. One woman told me how, when she was eight months pregnant with an illegal second child and was unable to pay the 20,000 yuan fine (about $3,200), family planning officers dragged her to the local clinic, bound her to a surgical table and injected a lethal drug into her abdomen“. – said Chinese film director Zhang Yimou.

Discrimination against girls will cause a disproportionate number of men compared to women in the future: “As a result, approximately 30 million more men than women will reach adulthood and enter China’s mating market by 2020
The strict family planning has caused overall, sad results.
According to the Guardian
“Two generations of children have grown up without siblings, uncles, aunts or cousins. Women have lost sovereignty of their bodies. The state owns their ovaries, Fallopian tubes and wombs, and has become the silent, malevolent third participant in every act of love”.

However, the policy is also characterized by some advantages which cannot be denied.

We have to take into account also, a different and perhaps more radical point of view; a perspective which can only show the good things about child control in China. Like most policies, there are many advantages as there are disadvantages and it is necessary to also highlight the advantages in order to avoid getting depressed. Firstly, one child policy provides economic benefits. It enhance the possibilities of reaching objectives so called “Chinese Dream”, the family income will be spent on the only kid. Since 1978 when the law was implemented, it has achieved its primary goal, to control population growth. . The policy is helping the future of China economically because it helps to improve their living standards and save a lot of resources. Chinese couples who only have one child will receive free education and health for their child. Who knows what the population of China would be like without the one-child policy, probably the 1.3 billionth child would have been born decades ago…

In conclusion, we think that the policy is a very good and necessary way to control the population of a country. However, we must also ask ourselves this  question: who are we to put a limit to the amount of children that we must have? And especially, who are we to decide whether a baby girl or a baby boy must live or die?

There is no doubt that China’s one child policy violates human rights in many aspects, but unfortunately the Chinese government still has not found a better way to deal with its fast population growth that causes many issues related with food, space, energy and jobs. These four things are very difficult to provided to such a big population. So far this harsh policy has somehow managed manages to deal with these problems but for the best of its population the government should find a better alternative as soon as possible.

Can you imagine such a policy in The United States or Europe?

Here is a short documentary on China’s one-child policy:

and here is a report by AlJazeera:

Written by Emanuele del Tufo, Izabela Lowjeska, Heli Haapanen, Maria Torres and Dimitar Shadoura.

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