In 1979, China announced the one-child policy in order to slow down the growth of the population. After 39 years and a four day communist-party summit in Beijing, the one-child policy in China has been over-turned.
The one-child policy is said to have been abandoned because China is trying, “To promote a balanced growth of population,” as reported by the Xinhua news agency, (The official press agency of China), citing a statement issued by the ruling communist party. Later adding, “China will continue to uphold the basic national policy of population control and improve its strategy on population development.” This is understandable because in 2013, China was reported to have 117.6 boys to every 100 girls. The gender imbalance is said to be the main reason for the policy change. The high rate of female infanticide is another reason for this change. In many parts of Rural China, parents choose to drown or abandon their daughters as male children are considered more valuable. If the parents could only have one child, they would want a male.
To be the youngest of five daughters, would not be an easy thing; Mei Fong (Photo courtesy:newamerica.org) was conceived, for the sole purpose that her parents wanted a son. Her family, who migrated to Malaysia from South China had told her that if it weren’t for the migration she would’ve never been born. Even though the two- child policy has come into place, Mei Fong said that, “a huge gender imbalance, a coming tsunami of old people with relatively few young to take care of them- are going to linger for at least a generation, if not longer.” The 39-year old policy was bound to have some long-term effects on the people who have accepted it as a way of life, and have had to change their perspective to become more conservative. Growing up in Malaysia gave Fong the opportunity to become a reporter. She was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, first reporting in Hong Kong, and then moving to Beijing a few years later. She was awarded the, “Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting,” in April 2007 as well as the “Human Rights Press Award,” in 2006. Moving to Beijing had inspired her to write the book, One-child: The Past and Future of China’s Most Radical Experiment, which was released on November 3, 2015. (As reported by the New Yorker). Photo courtesy: amazon.com
The one-child policy resulted in many women having forced abortions. It’s a basic human right to have children, but it is understandable why some policy makers in China still prefer the one-child policy seeing that China already has the world’s largest population. China was expected to have -0.5% population growth with this policy in place, but the Chinese population has actually grown. The population was 969 million when this policy started and is now 1.4 billion. Graphs to show how the one-child policy affected China’s population can be seen from many sites such as BBC, CNN and The Wall Street Journal.
Feature image courtesy: Mercatornet.com