The People’s Republic Of China And The One Child Policy

1784 words - 7 pages

In the 1950s the People’s Republic of China first implemented the beginnings of the one child policy. It made significant changes to the population and the nation’s growth rate decreased. Professor Yinchu Ma (1957) initiated the policy with his book New Population Theory. His book responded to the huge increase in population growth occurring in China (Singer 1998). Under the Mao republic, leaders saw the population development as a danger to the nation’s economy (White 1994). The political party promoted childbirth in the 1950s and 1960s according to the slogan “one is a good few, two is just enough, and three is over” (White 1994). However these efforts were not successful and there were 250 million additional people in the 1970s. More steps were taken to encourage population control. These steps included focusing on contraceptive and abortion services in the countryside and encouraging later marriages. In 1982 the Chinese population was over one billion and the growth rate made China’s modernization goals more difficult.
Therefore the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council’s Resolution Concerning the Strengthening of Birth Control proclaimed the one child policy in 1980. This policy said “the state advocates the one couple has only one child except for special cases, with approval for second birth” (Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, 1980). The goals of the policy were to have zero growth in the country and maintain the population at 1.2 billion by 2000. China offered financial and marital incentives to couples with a child and suspended them if the couple had a second child. Despite being defined as a voluntary program, the policy was enforced through administrative controls (White 2006). Because many urban couples worked in state-owned enterprises, there were easier to influence than rural families. Certain circumstances allowed a couple to have a second child such as: “the first child is a girl or has a defect, one remarried partner had no child by the previous marriage, they belonged to certain group of workers, or both partners were themselves from one child families” (Hesketh and Zhu 1997). Through the implementation methods more than 25 million people were sterilized. The number of abortions also increased. Birthrates fell from 21.1% in 1981 to 17.5% in 1984. The one child policy was successful in terms of its goals. The population growth went from 11.6% in 1979 to 5.9% in 2005. The population decreased by approximately 300 million. The one child policy had inadvertent effects on the familial structures in China. As the population aging was accelerated, there was a development of the nuclear family in a larger network.
The nuclear family is a family that consists of a pair of adults and their children. An extended family is a family that extends beyond the immediate family and consists of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all living nearby or in the same household. Previous to the one-child...

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