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China’s one-child policy: Out-of-date and in need of abolition

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Christopher B.
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  1. Introduction
  2. History of the one-child policy
  3. Controversy surrounding the policy
  4. Consequences of the policy
    1. Forced marriages
    2. The kidnapping and selling of baby boys
    3. Gender imbalance
  5. Government initiatives to correct the imbalance
  6. The imbalance as a result of the lack of structural changes are made in China
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

Now approaching its 30-year anniversary, China's one-child policy has been in effect since 1979, when it was introduced by Deng Xiaoping. It was a policy that was originally intended to be a short-term solution to an exploding population in the late 1970's. Designed to last a single generation, the whole policy thrust was that population control was a precondition for economic growth. One of the most negative, unintended outcomes of this one-child policy has been an extreme gender imbalance, resulting in calls to abolish the whole policy as academics and older generations voice concern for China's future. The combination of a traditional preference for boys and easily accessible technology for sex-selective abortions has ?resulted in an average gender ratio of 118 males born to every 100 females, with some regions reaching 130 to 140 boys per 100 girls.? Even in the 1990's people sounded alarm bells by suggesting that the implications for sex ratios and rural families would mean that if current trends of the skewed sex ratio (118.5 males per 100 females in 1992) continue, by the turn of the century there would be 100 million males not able to find partners. The consequences of the one-child policy and gender imbalance are numerous and include: female infanticide (more of a problem from the past), a burgeoning business for sex trafficking, forced and arranged marriages, a large number of Chinese bachelors unable to find partners, and smaller families in general having to support an aging population. The paper will explore all these issues and will then analyze the connection between the gender imbalance-one-child policy issue interconnected with labour market and demographic issues. Finally, the work will explore the prospects for policy change, especially in light of cultural attitudes and current trends. In truth, while initially meant to contain population growth and help spur economic development and higher living standards, the one-child policy has outlived its usefulness and has led to a gender imbalance which can only be corrected with new policy initiatives combined with changing attitudes about girls amongst couples.

[...] Chang, Ming. P.11. Chang, Ming. P.11. White, Tyrene. P White, Tyrene. P Feng, Wang. Can China Afford to Continue Its One-Child Policy? AsiaPacific Issues. No March 2005. P.6. Feng, Wang. P.6. Feng, Wang. P.6. Feng, Wang. P.6. Feng, Wang. P.6. Feng, Wang. [...]


[...] The solution will come only with a change in attitudes toward female offspring.?[40] What is promising is that the consequence of a population boom in China if the one-child policy is scrapped will likely be substantially mitigated by changing attitudes amongst both men and women, and especially those in China's growing middle and upper classes. Like their counterparts in the West, many affluent and urban Chinese couples prefer one child, a sign that attitudes are changing as people move up the prosperity ladder.[41] However, the evidence is conflicting with other Chinese scholars suggesting that most city district Chinese women ?would prefer more children yet comply with the one-child policy because they accept the moral legitimacy of state policy.?[42] Some policy wonks advocate a straightforward new policy which would officially permit all couples rural and urban to have two children - but only two children, and with at least five years between them.[43] It is predicted that this ?option would give a fertility rate of 1.72 in the years 2000- 2025 and would be acceptable to most people.?[44] Obviously, there are a number of alternatives that would perform better than the current haphazard system, which is still hugely unpopular, difficult to enforce on many levels, and has the least effect for the more affluent population. [...]


[...] P.6. Feng, Wang. P.6 Feng, Wang. P.6 Feng, Wang. P.6. Therese Hesketh, Li Lu, and Zhu Wei Xing. The Effect of China's One- Child Family Policy after 25 Years. The New England Journal of Medicine. Volume 353 (11). September P.1173. Chang, Ming. P.11. Chang, Ming. P.11. Chang, Ming. P.11. Chang, Ming. P.11. Chang, Ming. P.12. [...]

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