China’s One Child Policy Violates Human Rights

2178 words - 9 pages

Although there are many facets of human rights being abused and violated every day, the Chinese would mention their fight for reproductive rights as one of the first and foremost in their mind. In 1979, the Chinese government passed the One-Child Policy in an attempt to control the growth of their population. While this may have been a grand idea in theory, in reality this policy violates the human right to form a family. By limiting the amount of children a Chinese couple is allowed to produce, this policy is effectively forcing abortion, sterilization and is taking away the Chinese family’s right to make their own choices.
The policy was created in 1979 and set a strong limit of one child per family. However, modern-day China is currently working off of a change proposed in 1984, which changed the policy to work off of a 1.5-child per couple. This change allowed some families to have another child, but only if their first born was a female. Most provinces have also allowed rural couples to have another child a few years after the birth of their first. This relaxed policy also permitted minority couples to have two or more children in an effort to increase diversity. Unfortunately, most of these amendments to the policies affect only the rural citizens of China, and provide little benefit to the urban residents.
This being said, there is an issue of fairness when it comes to the rural vs. urban families. In Jiali Li and Rosemary Santana Cooney’s article, “Son Preference and the One-Child Policy in China 1979-1988,” we learn of the different types of familial registration, and how that impacts the policy. The two types of registration depend on the location of your residency. Chinese families with Type I registration reside in the more rural areas of China, and depend mostly on agriculture for their livelihood. These would be the families that benefit the most from the current 1.5k child ruling. The Type II residents, however, tend to live in more urbanized areas, including towns, cities and their surrounding suburbs. People with this registration tend to have higher education, and tend to be a bit wealthier than their rural counterparts. Type II residents also tend to be under more governmental control. The women living in these areas find themselves under greater pressure to abide by, and sign into the one-child certificate program. Whether this is due to proximity to governmental establishments and the resulting pressures, or due to fear is up for debate.
This unfairness, however, is still a violation of human rights. If all people are equal in the eyes of the law, why are some families allowed two children while others can only have one? Arguably, the Type I families living in an agriculture based homestead need more hands around the house to help with the chores and housework. While this concern is minimally addressed in the 1.5 child amendment to the policy, it still prevents families from building up a strong support...

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