China is reconsidering its one-child policy

A lesson for population-control zealots from a country that put the concept into bloody practice:

An aging population and the need for more workers have prompted China’s Communist Party to consider relaxing the decades-long ban that restricts most couples to one child, a harsh policy marked by forced abortions, sterilizations and fines for those who have more than one.

In 2011, China will start pilot projects in five provinces, all of which have low birth rates, to allow a second birth if at least one spouse is an only child, says He Yafu, an independent demographer who is in close contact with policymakers.

Beijing, Shanghai and four other provinces will follow suit in 2012, with nationwide implementation by 2013 or 2014, he says.

“In the past, we only focused on slowing population growth,” says Peng Xizhe, a professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University. “It’s much more complicated than we earlier thought.”

The National Population and Family Planning Commission, which enforces the “one-child policy,” refused interview requests. The policy has prevented 400 million births in China, which has a population of 1.3 billion, according to the family planning agency. But a dramatic decline in birth rates and improved longevity over the past two decades have caused China’s population to age at one of the fastest rates ever recorded, says the Population Reference Bureau, a demographic firm.

Also, a traditional preference for boys has led to the abortion of many girls. In 2009, the ratio of newborn boys to newborn girls was 119 to 100, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

For three decades, China’s one-child policy has set family sizes in the world’s most populous nation — and symbolized the tight social controls set by its ruling Communist Party. Exceptions have been made, such as allowing rural farm families to have a second child if the first is a girl.

The need for more children to care for parents, plus a gender imbalance that will leave tens of millions of men without wives, are two arguments for a relaxation of the one-child policy, says Siu Yat-ming, who researches Chinese family planning at Hong Kong Baptist University.

via China may relax its one-child rule – USATODAY.com.

Of course, China will still control how many children its citizens are allowed to have and forced abortions will presumably still continue, both until the new policy goes into effect and to prevent any more than two children.  Still, this is some progress.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Indeed. We fear that China will dominate economically. They will not because they are sitting on a demographic time bomb. within a generation they will have an aged population whose demands for maintenance will outstrip the ability of a smaller population of working age adults to support.

    China will need to start accepting immigrants from india an other countries to survive.

    In contrast the United States will do very well I predict. Why? Both documented and undocumented immigrants. It alone will keep our population young enough to support things in the coming generation.

    Our American challenge will be to resist pushing the fear button and do the mercy of integrating and educating the children of those immigrants. If we do not do this, things will not be as rosy as I predict. We will look more like…. um… Brasil. Brasil is where 95% of the wealth is controlled by 5% of the population and education is a huge problem and factor as to why Brasil will always be “up and coming” as a world economic power, and will never quite arrive….

    Our version of this would be that we would stagnate and squander what the greatest generation built after WWII.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Indeed. We fear that China will dominate economically. They will not because they are sitting on a demographic time bomb. within a generation they will have an aged population whose demands for maintenance will outstrip the ability of a smaller population of working age adults to support.

    China will need to start accepting immigrants from india an other countries to survive.

    In contrast the United States will do very well I predict. Why? Both documented and undocumented immigrants. It alone will keep our population young enough to support things in the coming generation.

    Our American challenge will be to resist pushing the fear button and do the mercy of integrating and educating the children of those immigrants. If we do not do this, things will not be as rosy as I predict. We will look more like…. um… Brasil. Brasil is where 95% of the wealth is controlled by 5% of the population and education is a huge problem and factor as to why Brasil will always be “up and coming” as a world economic power, and will never quite arrive….

    Our version of this would be that we would stagnate and squander what the greatest generation built after WWII.

  • DonS

    Duh. As I’ve posted in the past, and as Frank posts above, anyone with eyes to see could see what would happen to China in years to come. They are merely bowing to reality, in a grudging sort of way, and it is far short of the kind of event that calls for celebration, though it will be of some relief to those families that want the blessings of more children.

  • DonS

    Duh. As I’ve posted in the past, and as Frank posts above, anyone with eyes to see could see what would happen to China in years to come. They are merely bowing to reality, in a grudging sort of way, and it is far short of the kind of event that calls for celebration, though it will be of some relief to those families that want the blessings of more children.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Our American challenge will be to resist pushing the fear button and do the mercy of integrating and educating the children of those immigrants.”

    What if they won’t cooperate and do us the mercy of integrating and learning? Then what? We are not all powerful. We can’t just choose to have others do our will. They may not be so inclined.

    Japan is worse off than China demographically and is most definitely not taking immigrants. They are mechanizing as fast as they can. Chinese are nationalists not multicultis. They may just continue their quasi colonial efforts in Africa rather than initiate mass immigration. I don’t know. China will grow old before it grows rich. The Chinese gov’t is pretty shrewd as well as ruthless. They may just figure grandma and grandpa can sleep on their son’s sofa in their old age. A kind of to-heck-with-em attitude.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Our American challenge will be to resist pushing the fear button and do the mercy of integrating and educating the children of those immigrants.”

    What if they won’t cooperate and do us the mercy of integrating and learning? Then what? We are not all powerful. We can’t just choose to have others do our will. They may not be so inclined.

    Japan is worse off than China demographically and is most definitely not taking immigrants. They are mechanizing as fast as they can. Chinese are nationalists not multicultis. They may just continue their quasi colonial efforts in Africa rather than initiate mass immigration. I don’t know. China will grow old before it grows rich. The Chinese gov’t is pretty shrewd as well as ruthless. They may just figure grandma and grandpa can sleep on their son’s sofa in their old age. A kind of to-heck-with-em attitude.

  • Pingback: Re-thinking the “one-child” policy « Strengthened by Grace

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