Research Paper: China's One-Child Policy in 1981

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[. . .] The policy has been called a coercive population control program and a historic mistake. While the program has achieved its objective of lowering the number of births in the country, Pascu asserts it undermines the potential of future development. By 2015 China's working age population between 15 and 64 will be in a continuous decline and within a generation will be smaller than it is today.

Social Consequences

The disruption of the natural boy-girl balance has been an additional unintended consequence of the one-child policy. This disparity has been exacerbated by the rural mentality concerning the advantages of having a boy. Short et al. found there is "little doubt that China's one-child policy has had a profound impact on Chinese family life" (934). Research indicates that the ideal composition for many Chinese couples is one boy and one girl, but that having one son is most important. Pascu reports in Chinese rural culture the daughter leaves behind her parent's family after marriage to live with her husband's. This has a negative economic effect upon economy of the family. The girl's family loses manpower, as well as support, and a source of income when the parents grow old and can no longer secure income by their own physical work. Because of this rural couples historically preferred to have sons. After the one-child policy was implemented giving birth to a girl first placed a lot of families in an unfortunate position. The result of this was a high rate of baby girls being abandoned right after birth, a high rate of infanticide, and an even higher number of unregistered baby girls. The social consequences of being an unregistered child are particularly harsh. Children who have not been registered have no official identity, no rights, and no protection from the state. Legally they do not exist and the state is not responsible for them. Unregistered citizens "are not entitled to lawful employment, education, medical care, social protection, and remain permanently a social layer exploited by a society that institutionally refuses to formally acknowledge them" (Pascu, 107).

Today China there is 33.31 million more men than women in China. A survey of the Chinese Social Science Academy predicts that over 24 million Chinese at the age of marriage will be left without brides in 2020 as a consequence of this demographic imbalance. There is concern that this large population of bachelors may lead to an increase in sexual offences, such as forced marriages, female kidnappings for marriage, bigamy, prostitution, rape, and adultery (Pascu).

Another phenomenon that has arisen from the one-child policy is an increase in the crime rate. The crime rate has increased by 13% yearly since 1998 with 70% of the criminals between the ages of 16 and 25, 90% of which are males. Separate studies by American and Chinese scientists have attributed the link between the increased crime rate and single men to the higher level of testosterone among singles, hence an increased propensity for aggressiveness (Pascu).

Finally, the one-child policy also had psychological effects over China's population. The "Little Emperor" Syndrome refers to children who have grown up in families where they received exaggerated care from parents' and grandparents' due to their status as an only child. The pampering of these children has not only psychological and emotional effects, but also significant physiological and social consequences (Pascu).

Conclusion

Many feel the one-child policy has contributed to the great economic strides China has made over the past three decades. However, when one considers the demographics of the nation at the time the policy was implemented, with two thirds of the population under 30, one can also make the case this demographic dividend was inevitable.

By the end of 2005 the one-child policy had be credited with preventing over 400 million births and economists now believe that China's ageing population will cut multiple percentage points off its economic growth rate beginning around 2015. These demographic problems threaten to derail the nation's current economic momentum. Additionally, social problems brought about by the disparity in sex ratio continue to manifest themselves. While China has been able to stabilize population growth through the one-child policy, the overall effects of this stabilization will be harmful to the nation's future.

Works Cited

Bailey, Ronald. "The Limits of Growth." Reason.com. 18 April 2012. Web. 28 October 2012.

Li, Jiali. "China's One Child Policy: How and How Well Has it Worked? A Case Study of Hebei Province, 1979-88." Population and Development Review, Vol 21, No. 3, September 1995: 563-585. JSTOR. Web. 7 November 2012.

Liu, Lee. "China's Population Trends and their Implications for Fertility Policy." Asian Population Studies, Vol 6, No. 3, February 2010: 289-305. EBSOC. Web. 28 October 2012.

Mayhew, Robert J. "Malthus and the Seven Billion." History Today, Vol 62, Issue 2, February 2012: 4-5. EBSOC. Web. 28 October 2012.

Mosher, Steven W. "China's One-Child Policy: Twenty-five Years Later." Human Life Review, Vol 32, Issue 1, Winter 2006: 76-101. EBSOC. Web. 28 October 2012.

Nakra, Prema. "China's 'One-Child Policy' The Time for Change is Now!" World Future Review, Vol 4, Issue 2, Summer 2012: 134-140. EBSOC. Web. 18 November 2012.

Pascu, Lucian Mihai. "China's… [END OF PREVIEW]

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