China Birth Control

China Birth Control


ChinaBirth Control


TheOne-Child Policy in China

Chinaadopted the one-child-policy in its bid to control its highpopulation. This one-child policy was enforced in many ethniccommunities in China with the exception of ethnic minorities. In2007, the Chinese government forced 36% of its population to adoptone-child policy. After sometime, an addition 53% of the Chinesepopulation was allowed to have the second child if the first childwas a girl. The one-child policy is implemented at provincial levelsthrough the imposition of strict and heavy fines to those who disobeythis policy. The Chinese government conducts regular registration andinspections to ensure that the Chinese people abide to this policy.

Theone-child policy was first introduced in 1978 with an aim ofalleviating the social, economic and environmental problems that waseating away the Chinese state due to high population. Originally, theone child policy was designed as a one generation policy but this haschanged. Since its inception in 1978, there have been variousexceptions created after widespread controversies. To date, coupleswho were an ‘only child’ are allowed to have two children.Similarly, couples who beget disabled or a girl child are allowed tohave an additional child without incurring policy penalties(Greenhalgh, 2008).

Exemptionsfor one-child policy also applies for couples whose children die ordevelop disabilities. However, the one-child policy is still strictlyenforced in densely populated areas such as urban areas butimplementation varies from one location to the other. Couples livingabroad are not subjected to the policy but the one-child policybecomes effective upon the application of Chinese citizenship.Furthermore, there are affirmative actions such as allowing couplesto have second child in case of deaths through natural calamitiessuch as the 2008 Sichuan earthquake(Sleeboom-Faulkner, 2011).

Theeffect of the one-child policy has had a significant impact onChinese birth rate. In 1978 the Chinese average birth rate was 2.8per woman but in 2010 the average birth rate is 1.5 per woman(Goh, 2011).Another effect of the one-child policy is unequal sex ratio betweenmale and female. Current reports indicate that the policy has led tomale child favoritism leading to a growing gap of more males thanfemales. The one-child policy has become more expensive for couplesseeking to adopt and this will affect children living in statesponsored orphanages.

Anotherweird practice that has risen due to the one-child policy is variouscases of abortion and ‘missing girls.’ Other parents who begetgirls ‘sell’ or ‘offer’ them for adoption. Another queeraspect is that, since there is no penalty for multiple births, manycouples are seeking fertility medicines to induce the conception oftwins(Feng, Yong and Baochang, 2012).By 2006, it was estimated that the number of twin births had doubledconsiderably than any other time in history since the imposition ofthe one-child policy. Although, the one-child policy has helpedreduce the growing population in China, it opened up vast avenues ofsocial problems. For instance, children born outside the requiredscope of one-child policy are unregistered and cannot benefit fromstate services such as education, health and security(Cai, 2010).

Thereis an increasing trend of birth tourism in which couples traveloverseas to ‘bear’ the second child before returning to theChinese mainland. Internationally, the one child policy has receivedconsiderable and growing criticisms for various social problemscreated by the policy. In particular, the one child policy has beencriticized for increasing human rights abuse through forcedabortions, sterilization and child abandonment. The coercion andviolence used by the Chinese in family planning continues to violatethe rights of the Chinese people. Despite its essence in reducing thehigh population, the Chinese one-child policy remains one of the mostworst systemic abuses of human rights.


Cai,Yong (Sep 2010). &quotChina’sBelow-Replacement Fertility: Government Policy or SocioeconomicDevelopment?&quot(PDF). Populationand Development Review.36(3): 419–440.

Feng,Wang Yong, Cai Baochang, Gu (2012). &quotPopulation,Policy, and Politics: How Will History Judge China’s One-ChildPolicy?&quot(PDF). Populationand Development Review38:115–129.

Goh,Esther C.L. (2011). &quotChina`sOne-Child Policy and Multiple Care giving: raising little suns inXiamen&quot(PDF). Journalof International and Global StudiesNew York: Routledge.

Greenhalgh,Susan (2008). `JustOne Child: Science and Policy in Deng`s China(Illustrated ed.). University of California Press.

Sleeboom-Faulkner,Margaret Elizabeth (1 June 2011). &quotGenetic testing, governance,and the family in the People`s Republic of China.&quot SocialScience &amp Medicine72(11): 1802–1809.