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China Reconsidering One-Child Policy

China is considering incrementally changing its strict family-planning policies. The world's most populous country has restricted most families to one child for three decades. Today, it implements the policy using harsh fines, but during the 1980s, Chinese routinely underwent forced abortions and sterilization procedures. Chinese officials believe the policy has prevented 400 million births, and allowed China to prosper and preserve its resources.

But now a demographic crisis awaits China's urban centers. With aging populations, cities already are experiencing labor shortages. The gender imbalance — Chinese have more boys as a result of selective abortion — also troubles the county. A gradual shift in policy, such as the shift in Shanghai, may be in order. Now, Shanghai allows couples to have two children, if both partners have no siblings.

Do you think that China's family planning regulations offend the freedom to reproduce, a human right? Or, is this more of an environmental issue? With a population in China of 1.3 billion, could China, and the world sustain another 400 million people and counting?


Join The Conversation
georgie2 georgie2 9 years
That's an interesting article, I must go and see if I can find it online later. As for enforcing it, that is true. If you're rich and/or well-connected in China and can afford the fines, then having more kids isn't as great a financial burden. I'm saying that based on a wellknown pop star having a second child a couple of years back in china... But whatever changes China put in place now, it's too late for the current generation of little emporers with no wives.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i read that it is really hard to enforce this and this change is partly because they want to get rid of the corruption. this is not about China, but - what is with the women in N. America who have fertility drugs and multiple births then beg for money from strangers/donations because they can't afford them? there are always things on the news about these so-called "miracle" babies that are going to have so many problems because their parents wanted to have so many at once (or maybe accidentally). THAT makes me sick.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
That's interesting that you would bring that up, georgie, because I just read an article in the Express (a free paper published by the Washington Post) that states that up to 80% of patients at Shanghai abortion clinics during school breaks are young girls. I never realized that abortion was so prevalent among young people in China. The article was about how China, especially in big cities, is becoming much more sexual than in the past. I wonder if that will change the sex ed system in China so there is more of a focus on preventative measures now.
georgie2 georgie2 9 years
what really concerns me is how young people abuse the availability of abortion clinics. Don't get me wrong, I'm all pro-choice. But my friend is from beijing, but I guess having grown up in australia was more aware of the need to use condoms. But it seems not all her friends are, or bow to pressures from their partners. It seems that it was not an uncommon practice for the girls to see going to the hospital for a pill if they are pregnant as another form of birth control.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
I've said it before, and I'll state again: China disgusts me. I'm amazed that their country functions at all, in the conditions most of their population are forced live and work in (though this is not to say that ALL of China is like that, but a decent environment is less common). Their laws exhibit lack of foresight. What did they think would happen, when sons are so favored over daughters? My main concern is that they may force women to reproduce now, to promote the female population (how ironic). It's not all that far-fetched...if a country ignores human rights by enforcing unwanted abortions, what's to stop them from treating their citizens even more like cattle, and breed to the governments' liking? I bet they won't even consider aborting males, though!
janneth janneth 9 years
Well, they needed the law at one time, overpopulation, etc. But of those millions of abortions and infanticides, how many were female? Most (all?). Too bad those moms were so anti-girl, because their precious sons are leading pretty miserable lives with no wifey-poo to be found, some living in male dorms, and no hetero sex.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
While in China last year, I spoke to a few women professors, who had children. The rule is a little more complicated than everyone gets one child. If 2 people are married and both of them come from one child families they can qualify to have 2 children. However, if your spouse already has a sibling, then you're out of luck, you can only have one child. If you live in rural areas, you can qualify to have more than 1 child. If you are not exempt from the one Child policy, and have more than 1, you will be fired and your colleagues can be disciplined as well. There are other regulations too, but I don't really remember them. One of the women I spoke to described it as cruel, it was very sad to see her speak about wanting more children. She very much wants another child but if she does, she will be fired, her husband will be fired and her colleagues will have their pay docked. I understand sort of why they came up with the law but I think ultimately it's a violation of human rights.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
"Young poor people create a work force dependant on labor intensive jobs" I'm actually doing a presentation on child labor right now and I saw an interesting quote from International Labor Organization that basically said that because of laborers not being educated they become stuck in a cycle of unskilled labor and make poverty last longer because they cannot escape it. So unless these young poor laborers are educated and become skilled they really are not contributing to economic situations. There is also the fact that poor laborers are never paid enough to actually supplement their income
JessNess JessNess 9 years
Why I understand why they have the policy it clearly is a violation of human rights and it does not work. I actually did a report on this awhile back. The whole "...prevented 400 million births" is iffy to me because China is not exactly one to report accurate stats. Plus with orphanages overflowing with children specially girls who knows how many girls have been completely abandoned and never reported specially in more rural areas. Also the policy has created a huge shift in the ratio of gender. Soon China is going to be a country of men. I wonder about China's sex ed and how many people properly use birth control methods
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
What government restrictions on reproduction have done is create a country overpopulated by boys and lacking in girls thanks to selective abortions, orphanages full of girl children abandoned because their parents would rather have boys, women injured and sometimes killed by forced abortions carried out under horrific conditions, and more terrible effects than I can count. Yes, it's true that overpopulation is a problem. But obviously restricting reproductive rights hasn't done much to improve China's environmental and labor problems, has it? I also totally agree with Michelin: this is a definite violation of human rights and has been for a long time. If China truly wishes to curb population growth, what the government needs to focus on is educating citizens on the ill effects of overpopulation, then let them decide. Forcing any limit on reproduction is not the answer.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
ITA Michelin
Michelann Michelann 9 years
I don't think any government has the right to interfere in its citizen's reproductive lives. This is just another offense in the long list of China's human rights violations.
foxie foxie 9 years
Oh no. =[
Jillness Jillness 9 years
From a completely frigid point of view... Young poor people create a work force dependant on labor intensive jobs, and they also feed the military. A population like that would help China develop further into a dominating world power.
Lucy-Ingham Lucy-Ingham 9 years
This is a really difficult one, but after so long having such a strict policy, its likely that if they dont relax it soon, china is going to find their population actually starting to drop. Maybe its time to change it.
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