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What is the government’s policy towards population growth? How does it implement its policy? Evaluate the success of the policy.

China's policies from 1949-2000

Pro-natalist Culture
  • Leaders deliberately spread beliefs that a large population would lead to a prosperous country
    • High birth rates
    • With improved medical care and supplies, death rates decreased.
  • From 1949 to 1979, the Chinese population of 500 million nearly doubled. [1]
            • Despite a small fruitless attempt by the government to control population in 1956, the population continued to grow.
            • Ministry of Public Health published propaganda but received little attention because of the Great Leap Forward
            • 1959-1961, The Great Leap Forward encouraged growth for industrial jobs (caused agricultural neglect)
        • This caused a high death rate and a natural decline:
            • Less food for the growing population
            • With the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, the public was encouraged to have many children again.

    • external image OneChildPolicy.jpg

    • Anti-natalist Government
      • Finally, the government saw that the population growth was too enormous in the 1970s.
        • They saw it as a potential obstacle for economic and social development.
        • Population control became a priority.
          • Policy called Wan-xi-shao, meaning "later, longer, fewer," called for later marriages, longer gaps between the children, and fewer children altogether.
          • The "later, longer, fewer" policy soon became the one-child policy in 1979 by Deng - Xiaoping.
          • The people were punished for having more than one child. [2]
                      • Women pregnant with their second or third child were coerced into abortion.
                      • If they refused to abort a child, couples were fined heavily.
                      • The age for marriage was raised.
                      • Sexual advice was close to a euphemism; abortions and sterilizations were always advised after a couple's first child.
                  • After 1987, incentives for having only one child were put into effect.
                    • They included free schooling and better health care for the child, pensions, priority housing, longer maternity leave, and other benefits.
                    • A second child was allowed to some couples with a first child who was:
                      • mentally or physically handicapped
                      • predicted to die early or met with premature death.
                  • Couples of minority groups or rural areas were sometimes allowed to have two or more children.
                  • Some flaws of the one-child policy soon became evident. [3]
                      • Couples who made a living from agriculture needed sons who could help them with the farming and take care of them when they retired.
                        • The more sons they had, the more help they had for farming.
                        • Girls were usually considered a burden because when they married, they were sent to live with their husbands without being able to return to their parents.
                        • To choose between having only one child or risking to pay a fine for their second child, therefore, was a very difficult decision for rural couples.
                        • With improving technology, couples soon began to abort girls fetuses.
                      • On the other hand, couples who lived in cities tended to be wealthier and able to pay the fine. They chose to have only one child by their own will anyway.

            • By 1994, because so many discriminate abortions were carried through, the government banned the hospitals from revealing the fetus' sex to their parents.
              • However, parents often gave doctors bribes to force the gender of their child from them.

            • By 1999, the Chinese population consisted of a quarter of the world's population that dwelled on merely 7% of the world's arable land.

            China's Policies from 2000-Present

            China's Updated Policy [4]
            • The population and family planning law à took effect on Dec 29 2001
            • Zhao Bingli: vice minister of state family planning commission
              • Family planning has been practiced as a policy for 20+ years but this law pays more attention to citizen rights
              • Intention for law: broad action to control family size but law needed to standardize the actions taken + identify the rights and responsibilities of the staff and citizens
              • Wanted effects of law:
                • To set demands on government to change ideas/operational style because with the One Child Policy, there were too many restrictions and oversimplified ways of handling issues resulting in unhappy citizens
                • People's rights protection practiced - government will provide people with safe, suitable, and effective family planning services according to family life and position
              • Similarities
                • Families in rural areas are allowed a second child if the first was female
                • Ethnic minorities can have two or more children (mainly because the birth policies are set according to each province but they are usually more in need of children)
              • Differences
                • Urban couples who are both from one-child families are allowed a second child
                • Some families with more money than others who ask for more than two children will be fined and will face economic penalties
            • Encroachment on Human Rights
              • Before: imposing of policy by inexperienced staff lead to the handling of issues in an oversimplified and uncivilized manner because there were no regulations to control the staff
              • Now: the law sets regulations and provides legal protection of the legitimate rights and interests of the citizens
              • Those of the staff who force birth control by using oversimplified/cruel methods = sued/punished

            Implementing the New Law
            • The State Family Planning Commission allied with the United Nations Populations Fund (UNPFA) to launch a project in 32 poverty-stricken provinces
              • Project will attempt to substitute old methods of setting child-bearing standards with updated policies
              • Follow-up visits will be held and service cards will be provided instead of birth certificates
              • New system has already been applied to ~800 counties

            Is the new policy successful?
            • According to vice minister of State Family Planning Commission (Bingli):
              • There has been no rebound in the fertility rate or percent of abortions where the new law's knowledge has been spread
                • Proving that legal actions and scientific knowledge are more effective ways to control birth rate than using oversimplified methods and force

A decline in birth rate is already clear.

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