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China's One Child Policy

China's One Child Policy

For centuries China has stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences. On the other hand, over the last decade it has plummeted economically. A big factor for this massive downfall is the population of the country. China is overpopulated, at the dawn of this century there were some 426 million people living in China. Today the population is about 1.2 billion. About two-thirds of this 900 million-person increase was added within the last 50 years. In essence, the Mainland China alone contributes to at least twenty percent of the world's contribution. (Ogilvy 2000:97) The Chinese government realized that something had to be done or they would never be able to prosper as a country. Not at the rate they were heading, that's for sure. They decided to set up a plan to reduce the population growth. They called it China's one-child policy. This policy limits a Chinese couple to bearing only one child. (Milwertz 1997:56) Initially, the Chinese government adopted the policy in order to reduce the severe famine that plagued the country. They realized later that it would also help them prosper economically since the overpopulation held them back. The one child policy, although not formally written into law consisted of three main points. Advocating delayed marriage and delayed child bearing, advocating fewer and healthier births, and advocating one child per couple. (Wang 1995:34) Immediately after the policy was enforced, infanticide was introduced. How could a couple murder their child just because it was a female? Gender played a huge role in the Chinese culture. Males were definitely the dominant sex and a family without a male child was looked down at.

The Chinese tradition implied that there must be a boy among the children in order to continue the family. They felt that the males carried the name of their ancestors and they needed to carry the name for the next generation. Therefore, whenever a couple had a female child they reverted to infanticide. They would either abandon the child or even worse, kill it. This way they had another chance at getting a boy. As technologies advanced, they were able to determine the gender of the child before birth and used abortion as a means to eliminate a female birth. These wide uses of infanticide obviously arouse some issues. The sex ratio was totally unbalanced and...

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