1 in 5 people in the world is Chinese. The population of China has reached
an amazing 1.4 billion; that’s 6 times the amount of people in America.
These statistics demonstrate China’s major overpopulation problem, which
stretches the country’s resources to the limit.
In 1949, when the communists came into power, China’s population was around
540 million. By 1982 the population had almost doubled. The communists
encouraged couples to have children and greatly improved living standards.
Healthcare was improved which decreased baby fatalities.
To solve this issue the Chinese people have to greatly lower the high level
of the birth rate. A one-child policy has been introduced to help resolve
the problem. The policy rewards people with money and status and is in
effect all over China.
The one child policy, although not formally written into law consists of
three main points.
. advocating delayed marriage and delayed child bearing
. advocating fewer and healthier births
. advocating one child per couple
People who refuse to obey the one-child policy lose benefits such as free
education and lose their model worker status. The government also offers
model factory status to factories with 100% of its workers with one child
or less. This adds pressure on workers as they do not want to let their
The Chinese face poverty and hardship if their population continues to
rise. However if the one child policy works they will achieve double
today’s living standards.
A problem which arises from the one child policy is that there is a very
uneven balance of men and women. Men outnumber women because in China
people prefer to have boys. The main reason for this is tradition. If the
only child is a girl, the family’s name is not carried on. Also when a man
gets married it is tradition in the countryside that he and his wife stay
with his parents and the wife helps with the labour.
Another factor that affects the population crisis is economic. Chinese
people who can afford to live without the state benefits, and do not work
in a factory don’t feel they need to have one child.
People who support the one child policy point to figures that show that it
has reduced China’s population by 250 million. This relieves some of the
obvious stress on China, which already has one fifth of the world’s
population. Also, education is very expensive in China, so the one child
policy allows families to concentrate their resources on the single child,
thus leading to higher standards of education. Furthermore, women,
especially urban women, are now able to concentrate on their careers
instead of raising lots of children. This has led to an increased role for
women in the workforce.
Those who criticize the policy claim that it has led to extensive human
rights violations and sexual discrimination. As Chinese families
overwhelmingly prefer male children to female children, female infanticide
is increasing. Also, many people criticize the fact that abortions are
often forced on women who are visibly pregnant with their second child.
These abortions are often very late term. There have been reports of mass
sterilizations in the rural areas as well.
While the one-child policy is one way of solving the population crisis it
is not popular with many Chinese people or those in the rest of the world
because it takes away human rights.