One Child Policy Rule in China
One Child Policy Rule in China
In the early 1980s, to curb the fast-growing number of family units in China, the government introduced the one child policy rule. The government wanted to reduce the rate of growth of the already swelling population. This policy later had several social-economic impacts on China. The government wanted to ensure the growing population would not threaten economic development. The natural resources and the environment was also at stake as the population grew rapidly. This paper looks at the history, implementation, and the impact of the policy on China.
History of the Policy
The policy was introduced in 1979 by the then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to control the country’s fast-growing population which was by then the fastest growing in Asia. At the time China’s population was estimated to be more than 900 million. Improvement in medical care and leadership was what led to China’s fast-growing population. Initially, the fast growth of the population was considered an economic advantage as it boosted the country’s industrial and agricultural market. However, by the late 1950s, China realized her population was becoming a problem as her food supply could not satisfy the demand.
The policy was even taken seriously by the government after the 1958 famine which left millions dead. It promoted the policy by advising its citizens to embrace birth control or decide to have children later on. The policy, however, faced a serious problem in the wake of the 1966 Cultural Revolution. These problems did not last as in the 1960s, the government focused the campaign again to curb the population growth. In the mid-1970s, it came up with a slogan that promoted family planning. This slogan encouraged citizens to marry late, have longer intervals between children, and only a few children. It was popularly known as “Late, Long and Few”
Initially, the rule was only intended to temporarily control the population growth. By the time the policy was formally ended in 2015, it is estimated that it had prevented more than 300 million births (Understanding China’s former One-Child Policy, 2020). Over time the rules of the policy were gradually relaxed allowing more births.
Implementation of the Policy
The controversial policy received much criticism as the government forced women to abort and be sterilized. IUDs and other birth control methods were forced on Chinese women to control the population. It was compulsory for any family with a newborn child at the time to seek a family planning service certificate (Wang, et al., 2017). China’s communist party had a wide reach hence the government easily accessed the societal structure. This made it easier for the government to implement the policy in the whole of China.
Impact of the Policy
The policy brought about a gender imbalance problem in the world’s most populated nation. This is because many families preferred male children and consequently aborted female fetuses. Chinese citizens are allowed to secure abortion. However sex-selective abortion is still illegal. In China, the ratio of males is higher than that of females. This gender imbalance has in turn had other serious impacts on China in many fields. It will take China decades to rectify the gender imbalance issue that was brought about by the one child policy
Shrinking Labour Force
As a result of the population control, China’s labour force has significantly shrunk over the past few years. This is because there are more elderly people than young ones who are significant in driving a country’s labour market. The declining trend of the country’s labour force is expected to continue. The labour costs have significantly gone up as a result of the shrinking labour force. This has also posed a serious strain to the already troubled economy (Zhang, et al., 2017).