Over the last few centuries, governments have taken an increased interest in the rate of population growth in their nations. The People's Republic of China (PRC) is a nation where population management has been implemented in what can be said to be an extreme way. It is significant because the way that the PRC has intervened in human reproduction is broad-ranging and unprecedented in contemporary society. It is also an interesting topic of study because little is known about the effects of population politics. Since the PRC was founded in 1949, population has become a topic of central interest to the government. It began with an attempt to keep people in rural areas, but then became involved with trying to manage the number of people born. In 1979, China adopted the one-child policy, which prohibits urban families from having more than one child, but does allow for exceptions in many cases.
[...] The one-child policy, which prohibits urban families from having more than one child, was originally implemented in an effort to decrease the social, economic and environmental problems that a growing population cause, but success of this program depends on how it is perceived, and its consequences in terms of gender disparity can argue that the policy is a failure. As has been discussed, one notable consequence of this policy has been a growing disparity between the numbers of males and females being raised in Chinese society, and the way that infant (and even pre-birth) females are treated. [...]
[...] As soon as it became clear what the effect of this policy would be on females, the issue has been taboo in Chinese society, and people have been discouraged from discussing it, or acting to reverse it. (Greenhalgh and Winckler, 2005). The government has been aware of the effects it has had on gender disparity, but has not provided any meaningful solutions other than to say that killing girls is wrong, a position that does very little to discourage the practice. [...]
[...] be clear that the implications of the PRC's one-child policy have been most heavily felt by females, and have resulted in a large gender disparity between the number of males and females in society. The implementation of state birth planning by the PRC has had a large impact on the disparity between the sexes at the beginning of life. This makes it very risky for girls born under these circumstances, as females are thought of as the less-valued gender in Chinese society. [...]
[...] There are many ways in which the one-child policy has resulted in a large disparity in the number of males and females born. The one-child policy is responsible for large-scale levels of infant deaths, as parents who were hoping for only a son, have reinstated the age-old practice of drowning or disposing of their infant girls in other ways. Since the inception of the policy in 1979, this practice of killing infant girls has wavered, but it has certainly not stopped altogether. [...]
[...] The Chinese state did put forth an effort to curb the trend of gender manipulation practices in the 1980s and 1990s, however they quickly realized that it was one or the other, and they opted for control over gender balance. Leaders in China have once again identified gender disparity as a significant problem, and fixing it is a goal of this century. (Greenhalgh and Winckler, 2005). China's historically masculine society is no stranger to differing birth ratios, and citizens faced with resource shortages have always seen the benefits that males brought to the household that females were unable to. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee