With China’s one child policy ending in 2015 after more than three decades, looking back to why the campaign was first implemented shows us how China’s demographics have changed in critical ways. In the 1970’s many countries around the world were worried about population growth, but China, with a combination of a particularly large population and powerful government, took an extreme approach to the problem. Many inhumane actions have been done to ensure the policy’s effectiveness.
In China, rather than being given maternal care, pregnant woman without birth-allowed permits are hunted and forced to undergo abortion. The woman are humiliated. A mother has no right or legal standing to protect her unborn baby or herself from government-sponsored violence. Therefore, most siblings have been illegal, and the punishment for failing to conform to rules is extremely staggering. A Chinese woman who will conceive a child without a permit will be pressured to use abortion. Children who are conceived “out of plan” are denied education, medical assistance, and marriage. The fines for the lack of a permit can cost ten times the annual salary of both of the parents.
Nearly all of the land in China is controlled by the state, but the rivers offer refuge for criminals and outcasts. Parents who value the life of their children would take refuge in the river banks and live an abnormal life. Families will take on odd jobs in river towns, raising ducks, and scavenging garbage sites. Aside from the inhumane treatment of women, there were prolonged effects on the gender balance of China. Now there are about one hundred twenty boys for every one hundred girls.
The preference for a male is greater than its counterpart, the female. As a result, 90 percent of aborted fetuses are female. With the uneven ratio, the marriage rate decreased and many men are single without a spouse. This lead to a faster decline in population. Recently a new problem had risen from the policy. With a decrease in population, the working age population had begun to shrink. The drop has been even greater among those aged between fifteen and fifty nine.
It fell to 915.8 million last year, down 3.7 million from 2013, a trend that is expected to continue. The age dependency it turn, is increasing. Another consequence of an aging population is the increase in the proportion of people that are dependant on those who work. The median age in China is about thirty seven. By 2050, according to United Nations population projections, China’s median will have shot up to fifty.
“Chinese leaders have probably taken a look at this prospect and decided they need to slow it down,” Samuel Preston, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania, said. In China’s Confucian culture, it is the obligation of a son to take care for his aging parents, but as a practical matter, the burden usually falls on the wife. By not having daughters due to the gender imbalance, many of the elderly will be without a daughter-in-law. Therefore, many of China’s elderly remain uncared for. Now that China’s population is shrinking, they had recently lifted the policy.
With China’s one child policy ending in 2015 after more than three decades, looking back to why the campaign was first implemented shows us how China’s demographics have changed in critical ways. Woman had no rights and life for the people was challenging. The right of life belongs to everyone and the situation of China should be learned about as history may repeat itself.