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onechild - In an age of unlimited consumption and limited...

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In an age of unlimited consumption and limited resources, China’s one-child policy has been considered a remarkable success in the population planning field. The policy has reduced China’s population growth beyond the expectations of the original policymakers, signaling the success of the policy. However, the temporary nature of the one-child policy, as envisioned by Deng Xiaoping, has led some to question whether it is time for the policy to see its end. While this policy was implemented to break the barriers that overpopulation has on economic growth, some Chinese politicians and groups around the world have called for an end to the policy due to its negative implications on society. Even though the one-child policy has limited population growth, its adverse effects outweigh the benefits. The policy has led to a lopsided sex-ratio due to sex-selective abortions, infanticide, and abandonment of female infants; a lack of females for marriage; psychological problems in children; and an aging population. While the world has responded positively by adopting Chinese children that were abandoned as a result of the policy, foreign human rights and religious groups are protesting the enforcement of the policy. Following the formation of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong encouraged fertility and the build up of the Chinese population. The government promoted population growth through child subsidies and the prohibition of sterilizations, abortions, and contraceptives in an effort to strengthen the nation (Hemminki 1). Gabe Wang, a sociology professor at William Paterson University, argues that Mao believed that “people are essential to the country, more people mean more soldiers and more power, and the growth of population is a symbol of the prosperity of the country” (Wang 63). This is significant, since Mao’s policies have often resulted negatively from the Great Leap Forward to the Great Cultural Revolution. Similarly, Mao’s promotion of fertility led to an overpopulation problem in China, which needed to be
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resolved. Wang argues that “While China’s economy was underdeveloped; food, education, and employment all became serious problems” (Wang 72). Hence, Deng Xiaoping began a policy of population control in 1970 as a means to economic reform and a rise in living standards (Hesketh 1). In 1979, China imposed its one-child policy, which was lessened in 1984 and 1986 to provide some exceptions for rural and urban residents to have second children. (Hemminki 2). Since its inception, the one-child policy has met its goals at halting the growing population rate. Weng Feng, a sociologist at UC Irvine, argues that “China’s average mandated fertility rate is 1.47 children per couple and the data shows the actual fertility is about 1.5 children per couple. Such convergence between policy and reality is extraordinary” (Feng 1).
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