One-child policy: Difference between revisions

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Stephen Mosher of the "pro-life" Population Research Institute has argued that "[[Demographer]]s have no conception of overpopulation ... The world today could feed about 12 to 14 billion people." <ref>[ LifeSite Special Report - China Labels Stanford Researcher "International spy" For Exposing Forced Abortion Policy<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref> He further claimed that China used [[propaganda]] and [[brainwashing]] to encourage its citizens to agree to abort their child. Referring to [[Mao Zedong]]'s failure of the [[Great Leap Forward]], he argued that it is government mismanagement and [[government intervention]] that led to famine and shortage of food. Mosher further declared that one child policy hinders China's economic development.
Stephen Mosher of the "pro-life" Population Research Institute has argued that "[[Demographer]]s have no conception of overpopulation ... The world today could feed about 12 to 14 billion people." <ref>[ LifeSite Special Report - China Labels Stanford Researcher "International spy" For Exposing Forced Abortion Policy<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref> He further claimed that China used [[propaganda]] and [[brainwashing]] to encourage its citizens to agree to abort their child. Referring to [[Mao Zedong]]'s failure of the [[Great Leap Forward]], he argued that it is government mismanagement and [[government intervention]] that led to famine and shortage of food. Mosher further declared that one child policy hinders China's economic development.
In defense of China's policy it has been argued that translations have allowed misrepresentation of China's policy. They allege a double standard in that most Americans oppose China's eugenics program yet support abortion of mentally handicapped fetuses. Indeed, in the 1950s, the US government permitted the sterilization of alcoholics. No account is made of how China is being expected to level out its population increase in ten years while this took 100 years for developed countries. China simply cannot sustain a population of 2 billion and provide the standard of living that it desires.<ref>[ Quality babies. China's "eugenics" guidelines are ...[Asiaweek. 1994&#93; - PubMed Result<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref>
==Discrimination against city communities==
==Discrimination against city communities==

Revision as of 10:08, 27 May 2008

The one-child policy is the population control policy (or planned birth policy) of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

The Chinese government introduced the policy in 1979 to alleviate the social and environmental problems of China.[1] The policy is controversial both within and outside China because of the issues it raises; because of the manner in which the policy has been implemented; and because of concerns about negative economic and social consequences. However, there are still many citizens that continue to have more than one child, despite this policy.[2]

In February 2008 Chinese Government official Wu Jianmin said that the one-child policy would be reconsidered during the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in March 2008,[3] but at that time a representative of China's National Population and Family Planning Commission said that the policy would remain in place for at least another decade.[4]


The one-child policy promotes couples having only one child in rural and urban areas. However, parents of twins, triplets, etc. are given the same benefits as parents of one child.[5]

The limit has been strongly enforced in urban areas, but the actual implementation varies from location to location.[6] In most rural areas, families are allowed to have two children if the first child is female or disabled.[7] Second children are subject to birth spacing (usually 3 or 4 years). Additional children will result in large fines: families violating the policy are required to pay monetary penalties and might be denied bonuses at their workplace. Children born in overseas countries are not counted under the policy if they do not obtain Chinese citizenship. Chinese citizens returning from abroad can have a second child.[8]

The Danshan, Sichuan Province Nonguang Village people Public Affairs Bulletin Board in September 2005 noted that RMB 25,000 in social compensation fees were owed in 2005. Thus far 11,500 RMB had been collected leaving another 13,500 RMB to be collected.

The social fostering or maintenance fee (simplified Chinese: 社会抚养费; traditional Chinese: 社會撫養費; pinyin: shèhuì fúyǎng fèi) sometimes called in the West a family planning fine, is collected as a multiple of either the annual disposable income of city dwellers or the annual cash income of peasants as determined each year by the local statistics office. The fine for a child born above the birth quota that year is thus a multiple of, depending upon the locality, either urban resident disposable income or peasant cash income estimated that year by the local statistics. So a fine for a child born ten years ago is based on the income estimate for the year of the child's birth and not of the current year.[9] They also have to pay for both the children to go to school and all the family's health care. Some children who are in one-child families pay less than the children in other families. The one child policy was designed from the outset to be a one generation policy.[10]

The one-child policy is now enforced at the provincial level, and enforcement varies; some provinces have relaxed the restrictions. Some provinces and cities such as Beijing permit two "only child" parents to have two children. Henan province, with a population of about 100 million, does not allow this exception.

Moreover, in accordance with PRC's affirmative action policies towards ethnic minorities, all non-Han ethnic groups are subjected to different rules and are usually allowed to have two children in urban areas, and three or four in rural areas; in addition, some couples simply pay a fine, or "social maintenance fee" to have more children.[11] Thus the overall fertility rate of mainland China is, in fact, closer to two children per family than to one child per family (1.8). The steepest drop in fertility occurred in the 1970s before one child per family was implemented in 1979. This is due to the fact that population policies and campaigns have been ongoing in China since the 1950s. During the 1970s, a campaign of 'One is good, two is okay and three is too many' was heavily promoted, and as a result of famines and related hardships from the Cultural Revolution[5]

Recently, the policy has changed because the long period of sub-replacement fertility caused population aging and negative population growth in some areas,[12] and improvements in education and the economy have caused more couples to want to have fewer children.

In April 2007 a study by the University of California, Irvine, which claimed to be the first systematic study of the policy, found that it had proved "remarkably effective".[13]

Population growth and fertility rate reduction

With the one child policy, the fertility rate in China has fallen from over 2, to 1.7 births per woman (having already fallen from about 5 through the 70s). [14] (The colloquial term "births per woman" is usually formalized as the Total Fertility Rate (TFR), a technical term in demographic analysis meaning the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime if she were to experience the exact current age-specific fertility rates through her lifetime.)

In total, China estimates that it has three to four hundred million fewer people today with the one child policy than it would have had otherwise. [15][16] [17]. Chinese authorities thus consider one child policy as a great success to help implement the economic growth of China today [18]. The reduction in fertility rate and thus population size reduced the severity of problems that come with overpopulation, like epidemics, slums, overwhelmed social services (health, education, law enforcement, and more), and strain on the ecosystem from abuse of fertile land and production of high volumes of waste. However, even with the one-child policy in place, "China still has one million more births than deaths every five weeks". In addition, there are still six hundred million people in China living on less than two dollars a day [19].

Scholarly and official estimates of current overall Chinese fertility (the average number of children a woman has over a lifetime) vary over a wide range, from about 1.3 to 2.0:

  • some scholars give the number 1.3 based on the national Census [6]
  • the official number is 1.6 (adjusted figure from the national Census)
  • the World Bank's estimate is 1.9
  • Liang Zhongtang of the Shaanxi Province Economic Research Center gives 2.0 as the estimate.

A 1999 article in Population Research, China's flagship demographic journal, stated that China's total fertility rate is probably somewhere between 1.8 and 2.0.[20]

Some also believe that the estimate of reduced population size is exaggerated and suggest the real impact is closer to 50-60 million.[21][7]

Studies by Chinese demographers, funded in part by the UN Fund for Population Activities, showed that combining poverty alleviation and health care with relaxed targets for family planning was more effective at reducing fertility than vigorous enforcement of very ambitious fertility reduction targets.[22] In 1988, Zeng Yi expounded upon the effect of the transformation to the market on Chinese fertility in an article co-authored with Yale University Professor T. Paul Schultz in the PRC journal Social Sciences in China [Zhongguo Shehui Kexue, January 1988]. The introduction of the contract responsibility system in agriculture during the early 1980s weakened family planning controls during that period. However, by the late 1980s, economic costs and incentives created by the contract system were already reducing the number of children farmers wanted. Zeng points out that the "big cooking pot" system of the Peoples' Communes had insulated people from the costs of having many children.

Non-population related benefits

Impact on health care and childbearing attitudes

It is reported the focus of China in population control helps provide a better health service for women and a reduction in the risks of death and injury associated with pregnancy. At family planning offices, women receive free contraception and pre-natal classes. Help is provided for pregnant women to closely monitor their health. In various places in China, the government rolled out a ‘Care for Girls’ programme, which aims at eliminating cultural discrimination against girls in rural and underdeveloped areas through subsidies and education.[23]

Attitudes to child-bearing are also reported to have been affected by the one child policy. Some people have accepted the policy and consider that one child is enough.[24] It is also reported that some Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Wuhan, have seen negative population growth, although some argue this may be due to a statistical method adopted.

Increased savings rate

The individual savings rate has increased since the introduction of the One Child Policy. This has been partially attributed to the policy in two respects. First, the average Chinese household expends fewer resources, both in terms of time and money, on children, which gives many Chinese more money with which to invest. Second, since young Chinese can no longer rely on children to care for them in their old age, there is an impetus to save money for the future.[25]

Increased involvement of women in the labor force

Women have traditionally been the primary caregivers for children; however, with fewer children, they have more time to invest in their careers, increasing both their personal earnings and the national GDP. However, critics of the policy have asserted that such a gain may eventually be cancelled out by the increased burden of caring for two elderly parents singlehandedly.


The OCPF policy has been criticized by human rights advocacy groups, and also Western religious advocacy groups. They generally consider that the one-child policy is against human rights of reproduction. The one-child policy has also been criticized by pro-life advocates and some evangelical Christians. Inside China, criticisms are more focused on the potential social problems such as the "4-2-1" or "little emperor" problem, while recognizing the importance of having such a policy for the country. Related to this criticism are certain side consequences that are sometimes attributed to the one-child policy, including the use of sex-selective abortion, as reflected in highly skewed male-female ratios at birth.

A second type of criticism has come from those who acknowledge the challenges stemming from China's high population growth but view the OCPF as only one of a set of alternative policies that could have achieved the same reduced fertility and population growth over a more extended period of time without some of the negative side-effects of the OCPF as it was implemented. Susan Greenhalgh's (2003) recent review of the policy-making process behind the adoption of the OCPF shows that some of these alternatives were known but not fully considered.[26]

A third type of criticism concerns exaggerated claimed effects of the policy on the reduction in the total fertility rate. As Hasketh, Lu, and Xing observe: "However, the policy itself is probably only partially responsible for the reduction in the total fertility rate. The most dramatic decrease in the rate actually occurred before the policy was imposed. Between 1970 and 1979, the largely voluntary "late, long, few" policy, which called for later childbearing, greater spacing between children, and fewer children, had already resulted in a halving of the total fertility rate, from 5.9 to 2.9. After the one-child policy was introduced, there was a more gradual fall in the rate until 1995, and it has more or less stabilized at approximately 1.7 since then."[27] These researchers note further that China could have expected a continued reduction in its fertility rate just from continued economic development had it kept to the previous policy. For comparison, both India and China had total fertility rates (TFR) of about 6 in 1950. India's TFR dropped much more slowly than China's before 1990, to about 4.0, and is now 2.8. [8] [9]

Human rights

The one-child policy is challenged over violating basic human rights. Many are concerned with the practices used to implement this policy. China has been meeting its population requirements through bribery, coercion, forced sterilization, forced abortion, and possibly infanticide, with most reports coming from rural areas.[who?] Some examples include: 1. a former administrator of a Chinese Planned Birth Control Office had stated his experience of execution forced abortion on a 9 month pregnant woman. [28] 2. A former Chinese population control administrator named Gao Xiao Duan testified before a United States House subcommittee in 1998, regarding her participation in forced sterilizations and abortions.[29] 3. A 2001 report exposed in Guangdong a quota of 20,000 abortions and sterilisations was set for Huaiji County in the same year due to reported disregard of the one-child policy. The effort included using portable ultrasound devices to identify abortion candidates in remote villages. Earlier reports also show that women as far along as 8.5 months pregnant were forced to abort by injection of saline solution.[30] Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute announced that the One child policy is "an ongoing genocide". He argued that free market capitalism will solve the overpopulation and overconsumption problems of developing nations. [31]

In 2002, China outlawed the use of physical force to make a woman submit to an abortion or sterilization, but it is not entirely enforced. [32][33] In the execution of the policy, many local governments still demand abortions if the pregnancy violates local regulations.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) funding for this policy is heavily criticized in the USA. [34][35] U.S. congress pulled out of the UNFPA during the Reagan years. [36] U.S. President George W. Bush referred to human rights abuses as his reason for stopping the US$40 million payment to the UNFPA in early 2002.[37] In early 2003 the U.S. State Department issued a press release stating that they would not continue to support the UNFPA in its present form because they believed that, at the very least, coercive birth limitation practices were not being properly addressed. Furthermore, the U.S. government views that the right to "found a family" is protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This, coupled with the International Conference on Population and Development's view that it is the right of the individual, not the state, to determine the number of children, represents a clear conflict between China's policy and U.S. accepted and adopted human rights conventions.[38]

Besides the extreme methods such as forced abortion adopted in the execution of one child policy, some critics also point to the possible economic and emotional costs the policy may bring to the people. A U.S. official named Dewey testified that parents who bear a second child are required to pay a "social compensation fee", which ranges from half of the local average annual income to ten times that.[2]

The "Four-Two-One" problem

As the one-child policy begins to near its next generation, one adult child is left with having to provide support for his or her two parents and four grandparents. This leaves the older generation with more of a dependency on retirement funds or charity in order to have support. If personal savings, pensions, or state welfare should fail, then the most senior citizens would be left entirely dependent upon their very small family or neighbors for support. If a child can't care for their parents and grandparents, or if that child can't survive, the oldest generation could find itself destitute.[39] To combat this problem, some provinces allow families where each parent was an "only child" to have two children. In 2007, except Henan province, all other provinces in PRC adopted this new adaption[40].

Some parents may over-indulge their only-child. The media referred to the indulged children in one-child families as "little emperors". Since the 1990s, some people worry this will result in a higher tendency toward poor social communication and cooperation skills among the new generation, as they have no siblings at home.[citation needed] However, no social studies have investigated the ratio of these over-indulged children and to what extent they are indulged. With the first generation of one-child policy children (those born in the 1980s) reaching adulthood, such worries are reduced.

However, some 30 delegates called on the government in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in March 2007 to abolish the one-child rule because they believe "it creates social problems and personality disorders in young people." and "It is not healthy for children to play only with their parents and be spoiled by them: it is not right to limit the number to two, either." The proposal was prepared by Ye Tingfang, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who suggested that the government at least restore the previous rule that allowed couples to have up to two children. According to this scholar, "the one-child limit is too extreme. It violates nature’s law and, in the long run, will lead to mother nature’s revenge."[41][42]

Eugenic policies

The one-child policy includes eugenic regulations. Both partners have to be rigorously tested before they marry. If one spouse has an "unsatisfactory" physical or mental condition, ranging from dyslexia to schizophrenia, they are banned from marrying. The Chinese government claimed that these are aims to "improve the quality of the Chinese population." [43]. The Chinese government have since backtracked on this policy.[44]

Stephen Mosher, the president of the Population Research Institute, cited that Han geneticists find higher rates of mental retardation among minority populations such as the Uyghur and the Tibetans. He cited that this policy is genocidal to minorities. [45]

Discrimination against Han Chinese

More than 90% of the population of China are Han Chinese. Most ethnic minorities have different quotas from Han, with the quotas depending on whether they are living in urban, rural, or remote regions. The 55 official minority groups are limited to two or sometimes three children. Foreigners are exempt from this policy. As a partial consequence, ethnic minorities have had their proportion in China grow from 6.1% in 1953, to 8.04% in 1990, 8.41% in 2000, and 9.44% in 2005. While ethnic minorities represent less than 10% of the total population, they comprised 35% of the net increase in China's overall population between the censuses of 1982 and 1990,[46] and 42% of the net increase in China's population between 1990 and 2000. According to a recent survey, ethnic minorities are currently growing about 7 times faster than Han Chinese.[47][48][49][50] However, this relative increase is not only due to differential birthrates but also to a process of ethnic revival or growing self-consciousness or reidentification of minority nationalities, which has been occurring over the past few decades.[51]

Miscellaneous arguments against the policy

According to some Uyghur activists, the one-child policy allegedly has had a program that coercively sterilizes Uyghur women since 1984. According to Uyghur activist Yemlibike Fatkulin, these include mass abortions of Uyghur children and forced termination of marriages between Uyghur people. Uyghur children who are born unauthorized are denied food and shelter by the government.[52] [53]

According to the website, another aspect of the policy is its alleged "forced intermarriage" policy. The government has sent Chinese girls to marry Uyghur men since 1990. These Uyghur men were forcibly separated from their Uyghur wives and were forced to marry Chinese girls. Heavy fines exist if an Uyghur man attempts divorce from his Chinese wife.[52]

Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute argued that statism caused economic, environmental and food shortage. He suggested free market capitalism is the solution for overpopulation problems. He cited that "Reagan had it right when he declared 15 years ago that economic growth is 'the best contraceptive.' The UNFPA is at best irrelevant to economic development and probably a deterrent. To help women and children in the developing world, the United States should be exporting capitalism, not condoms."

Stephen Mosher of the "pro-life" Population Research Institute has argued that "Demographers have no conception of overpopulation ... The world today could feed about 12 to 14 billion people." [54] He further claimed that China used propaganda and brainwashing to encourage its citizens to agree to abort their child. Referring to Mao Zedong's failure of the Great Leap Forward, he argued that it is government mismanagement and government intervention that led to famine and shortage of food. Mosher further declared that one child policy hinders China's economic development.

Discrimination against city communities

City dwellers usually have only one child per couple, peasants almost all have 2 or more babies. The great difference of fertility rate 1:2 between city dwellers and peasants is just one of the social impacts of One-child policy. Urban dwellers are also economically better off — with incomes averaging three times greater than rural dwellers — urban children are raised in more favorable economic conditions than rural children. Some have also argued that because of this the only-children in urban families end up being spoiled,while the rural children often lack the necessary resources to be well fed and educated. It sometimes leads to the enlarging gap between the rich and poor. This is because the wealthy have only one baby with thrice the revenue of the poor, who may have two or more babies with 1/3 of the revenue of the rich. [55][56][57][58]

This outcome was not something that the Chinese government wanted. Further, the policy was resisted especially in rural communities. In the face of such resistance, the policy would have required more drastic measures than the Chinese government was willing to be seen using. This led to criticism of China from population advocates such as Garrett Hardin who argued China needs to more strictly enforce the one-child policy.[59]

"The Guanyin Who Sends Children" in a temple in the small town of Danshan, Sichuan.

Government corruption

Between 2000 to 2005 as many as 1,968 officials in central China's Hunan province have been found breaching the policy according to the provincial family planning commission. Also exposed by the commission are 21 national and local lawmakers, 24 political advisors, 112 entrepreneurs and 6 senior intellectuals.[60] Penalties are not enforced for violating the policy, as the spokesman proclaimed "Three officials -- vice head of Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Xiangxi with the surname as Peng, vice mayor of Loudi surnamed as Zhao, and vice mayor of Chenzhou with the surname of Lei, who were all found to have kept extramarital mistresses, -- were all convicted for charges such as embezzlement and taking bribes, but they were not punished for having more than one child."[60]

Side effects on female population

China, like many other Asian countries, has a long tradition of son preference.[61] Many argue that the one-child policy induces many families to use selective abortion, abandon female infants, and even kill female infants under the influence of the son preference.

The commonly accepted explanation for son preference is that sons in rural families may be thought to be more helpful in farm work. Both rural and urban populations have economic and traditional incentives, including widespread remnants of Confucianism, to prefer sons over daughters. Sons are preferred as they provide the primary financial support for the parents in their retirement, and a son's parents typically are better cared for than his wife's. In addition, Chinese traditionally view that daughters, on their marriage, become primarily part of the groom's family. Before the 1949 Liberation, a woman used to change her surname to her husband's surname[citation needed] or add her husband's surname before her surname after marriage. For some families, one's daughter-in-law's name instead of a daughter's name would be added in the book of family tree.[citation needed]

Gender-based birthrate disparity

The sex ratio at birth (between male and female births) in mainland China reached 117:100 in the year 2000, substantially higher than the natural baseline, which ranges between 103:100 and 107:100. It had risen from 108:100 in 1981 -- at the boundary of the natural baseline -- to 111:100 in 1990.[62] According to a report by the State Population and Family Planning Commission, there will be 30 million more men than women in 2020, potentially leading to social instability.[63] The correlation between the increase of sex ratio disparity on birth and the deployment of one child policy would appear to have been caused by the one-child policy.

However, other Asian regions also have higher than average ratios, including Taiwan (110:100), and South Korea (108:100), which do not have a family planning policy.[64] Many studies have explored the reason for the gender-based birthrate disparity in China as well as other countries. A study in 1990 attributed the high preponderance of reported male births in mainland China to four main causes: diseases which affect females more severely than males; the result of widespread under-reporting of female births;[65] the illegal practice of sex-selective abortion made possible by the widespread availability of ultrasound; and finally, acts of child abandonment and infanticide. It can be argued that the preference of boys over girls has been amplified by the implementation of the policy; however, given the multiple factors that may produce such sex ratios, it is inappropriate to attribute the ratios directly to the policy.

In a recent paper, Emily Oster (2005) proposed a biological explanation for the gender imbalance in Asian countries, including China. Using data on viral prevalence by country as well as estimates of the effect of hepatitis on sex ratio, Oster claimed that Hepatitis B could account for up to 75% of the gender disparity in China.[66]

However, Monica Das Gupta (2005) has shown that "whether or not females 'go missing' is determined by the existing sex composition of the family into which they are conceived. Girls with no older sisters have similar chances of survival as boys. However, girls conceived in families that already have a daughter experience steeply higher probabilities of being aborted or of dying in early childhood. Gupta claims that cultural factors provide the overwhelming explanation for the "missing" females."[67]

The disparity in the sex ratio at birth increases dramatically after the first birth, for which the ratios remained steadily within the natural baseline over the 20 year interval between 1980 and 1999. Thus, a large majority of couples appear to accept the outcome of the first pregnancy, whether it is a boy or a girl. However, if the first child is a girl, and they are able to have a second child, then a couple may take extraordinary steps to assure that the second child is a boy. If a couple already has two or more boys, however, the sex ratio of higher parity births swings decidedly in a feminine direction.[68]

This demographic evidence indicates that while families highly value having male offspring, a secondary norm of having a girl or having some balance in the sexes of children often comes into play. For example, Zeng Yi et al. (1993) reported a study based on the 1990 census in which they found sex ratios of just 65 or 70 boys per 100 girls for high parity births in families that already had two or more boys.[69] A study by Barbara Anderson and Brian Silver (1995) found a similar pattern among both Han and non-Han nationalities in Xinjiang Province: a strong preference for girls in high parity births in families that had already borne two or more boys.[70]

However, high sex ratios in the current population of China do not occur only in rural areas. Hasketh et al. (2005) show that the ratio is nearly identical in rural and urban areas.

Chinese demographers examine gender ratio problem in January 2006 review article

A review article "China’s birth Ratio at Birth: From Doubts About its Existence to Looking for a Solution"[71] by the Editorial Board of China's lead demography journal, Population Research (Simplified Chinese: 人口研究;Hanyu Pinyin: Rénkǒu Yánjiū) in its January 2006 issue argued that only an approach that makes the rights of women central can succeed in bringing down China's high gender ratio at birth and improve the survival rate of female infants and girls. The author of the section of the article from which the quotes below are drawn, "Research on the Sex Ratio at Birth Should Take a Gender Discrimination Approach" is Ci Qinying, Professor in the Demography Institute at East China Normal University in Shanghai.

  • "If we do pay more attention to the problem of the rising sex ratio, still the focus is on the rights of males such as the right to marry, and ignores women’s rights such as the right to survive, the right to reproduce, the right to health, etc. This approach inflicts even more harm on women. If this approach is taken, women will never be able to escape their subsidiary position and their role of satisfying the desires of others. Robbing females of their right to exist [shengmingquan 生命权] is for the sake of giving birth to males – that is putting the right to survive of males first. Moreover, protecting women’s right to exist is merely for the purpose of provide a wife to sons. A measure to ensure that a counterpart is available to ensure that male can exercise his right to marry. In both case, the male is primary and the female is subsidiary."
  • "Therefore, how a researcher approaches the question of the sex ratio at birth – from what point for view, considering whose rights – is critical. This depends upon the values of the researcher, the humanistic orientation of the researcher and the consciousness the researcher has about gender and gender discrimination. Protecting the right to exist, the right to reproduce, and the right to health of girls should be at the very core of policy and action measures to control sex ratio at birth. That is because females are the biggest victims of the rising sex ratio. The rising sex ratio is in fact robbing females of their right to exist and completely discriminates against females."

The review article argues that a human rights perspective is important.

  • "Social controls on methods of selective reproduction are needed not only because of the higher birth ratio that results but also because selective reproduction harms the body and soul of the mother and robs unborn infants (regardless of being boy or girl) of their right to live. Selective reproduction itself should be more closely regulated and brought under control."
  • "Even aside from the question of the rising sex ratio at birth, we should also intervene against and oppose elective abortion. Elective abortion robs unborn female infants of their right to live and their right to exist, accentuates the social custom of favoring males over females. Not only does it harm women’s bodies it also reduces women to the role of a mere tool for reproduction. Women bodies and spirits are suffering grievous wounds. Therefore no matter what the results of an elective abortion might be, we should intervene against and oppose elective abortion. The rise of the sex ratio at birth is only one among several reasons for intervening on selective reproduction."

While these views are not mainstream or government policy in China, that they could appear in the lead demography journal is intriguing.

The authors of another review article "Girl Survival in China: History, Present Situation and Prospects" presented at a 2005 conference supported by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities UNFPA concluded that "The Chinese government has already set the goal of achieving a normal gender ratio at birth by 2010, and to achieve preliminary results in establishing a new cultural outlook on marriage and having children. The government is working to change the system, way of thinking and other obstacles to attacking the root of the problem. Only if equality of males and females is strongly promoted ... will the harmonious and sustainable development of society be possible."[72]

Abandoned or orphaned children and adoption

Rural Sichuan roadside sign: "It is forbidden to discriminate against, mistreat or abandon baby girls."

The social pressure exerted by the one-child policy has affected the rate at which parents abandon undesirable children, and many live in state-sponsored orphanages, from which thousands are adopted internationally and by Chinese parents each year. In the 1980s and early 1990s, poor care and high mortality rates in some state institutions generated intense international pressure for reform.[73] In the years that followed, adoption rates climbed dramatically, increasing to the U.S. alone from about 200 in 1992 to more than 7,900 in 2005.[74] According to Sten Johansson and Ola Nygren (1991) adoptions accounted for half of the so-called "missing girls" in the 1980s in the PRC.[75] Through the 1980s, as the one-child policy came into force, parents who desired a son but bore a daughter in some cases failed to report or delayed the reporting of the birth of the girl to the authorities. But rather than neglecting or abandoning unwanted girls, the parents may have offered them up for formal or informal adoption. A majority of children who went through formal adoption in China in the later 1980s were girls, and the proportion who were girls increased over time (Johansson and Nygren 1991).

The practice of adopting out unwanted girls is consistent with both the son preference of many Chinese couples and the findings of Zeng Yi et al. (1993) and Anderson and Silver (1995) that under some circumstances families have a preference for girls, in particular when they have already satisfied their goals for sons. Recent research by Weiguo Zhang (2006) on child adoption in rural China also reveals increasing receptivity to adopting girls, including by infertile and childless couples.[76]


It is unknown how common infanticide is in China, though government officials state that it is "rare". There are accounts of parents killing their female infants in remote and rural areas due to many reasons. These include families not being able to support all their children, parents not wanting to be looked down on or laughed at (women who do not give birth to a boy may be considered "bad" at birthing), and the wife wanting to prevent their husbands from marrying other women, including concubines. Anthropologist G. William Skinner at the University of California-Davis and Chinese researcher Yuan Jianhua have claimed that infanticide was fairly common in China before the 1990s and the widespread availability of ultrasounds to determine the sex of babies.[77] Aside from avoidance of the penalties and restrictions of the state birth control policy, the root causes of infanticide, especially for baby girls whose health care and nutrition may not get the same attention as baby boys, may be poverty in rural China along with the traditional preference for boys for economic reasons.[citation needed]

Gender-selected abortion, abandonment, and infanticide are illegal in China. Despite the Chinese legal position, the US State Department,[78] the Parliament of the United Kingdom,[79] and the human rights organization Amnesty International[80] have all declared that China's family planning programs contribute to incidences of infanticide.

The desire for children, fertility medicines, and family planning

Along with the political and economic constraints on having children in China, many people face medical problems as they seek to have children. Advertisements for fertility clinics appear frequently in the PRC media. Some pray for a child while others turn to fertility clinics. China Daily recently reported that wealthy couples are increasingly turning to fertility medicines to have multiple births, due to the lack of penalties against couples who have more than one child in their first birth. The report quoted a doctor from a main pediatric hospital as saying that dozens more multiple births were recorded in 2005.[81]

Children born outside of China

In the Summer of 2006, new documents came to light indicating that Chinese nationals with children born abroad will be treated the same as Chinese nationals with Chinese-born children. This evidence has led the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to remand a litany of cases involving Chinese nationals seeking political asylum back to the Board of Immigration Appeals.[82]

In August 2007, the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that the new documents, even assuming that they are genuine, reflect only "general birth planning policies [...] that do not specifically show any likelihood that [...] Chinese nationals will be persecuted as a result of the birth of a second child in the United States." [83]

See also


  1. ^ [Pascal Rocha da Silva, La politique de l'enfant unique en République Populaire de Chine, 2006, Université de Genève, p. 22-28., cf.
  2. ^ a b Arthur E. Dewey, Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration Testimony before the House International Relations Committee Washington, DC December 14, 2004
  3. ^ The Associated Press: China Mulls Change to One-Child Policy
  4. ^ "China Sticking With One-Child Policy." The New York Times, March 11, 2008.
  5. ^
  6. ^ See Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific report "Status of Population and Family Planning Programme in China by Province".
  7. ^ See China Daily reportFamily Planning Law and China's Birth Control Situation.
  8. ^ Are the rich challenging family planning policy?
  9. ^ Summary of Family Planning notice on how FP fines are collected
  10. ^ Chen Youhua, 6/1999 issue of Population Research [Renkou Yanjiu "Research on Adjustment of Family Planning Policy"]
  11. ^ See Xinhua report New rich challenge family planning policy.
  12. ^ See People's Daily report Wuhan sees negative population growth.
  13. ^ "First systematic study of China's one-child policy reveals complexity, effectiveness of fertility regulation". Today@UCI. University of California Irvine. April 18, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-19.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Has China's one-child policy worked?
  15. ^
  16. ^ Foreign Correspondent - 02/08/2005: China - One Child Policy
  17. ^ BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Has China's one-child policy worked?
  18. ^ Foreign Correspondent - 02/08/2005: China - One Child Policy
  19. ^ Foreign Correspondent - 02/08/2005: China - One Child Policy
  20. ^ Chen Youhua, 6/1999 issue of Population Research [Renkou Yanjiu "Research on Adjustment of Family Planning Policy"]
  21. ^ [Pascal Rocha da Silva, La politique de l'enfant unique en République populaire de Chine, p. 116, cf.
  22. ^ U.S. Embassy Beijing June 1988 report PRC Family Planning: The Market Weakens Controls But Encourages Voluntary Limits
  23. ^ Foreign Correspondent - 02/08/2005: China - One Child Policy
  24. ^ BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Has China's one-child policy worked?
  25. ^ Naughton, Barry (2007)The Chinese Economy, USA: MIT Press
  26. ^ Susan Greenhalgh. 2003. "Science, Modernity, and the Making of China's One-Child Policy", Population and Development Review 29 (June): 163-196.
  27. ^ Therese Hasketh, Li Lu, and Zhu Wei Xing. 2005. "The effects of China's One-Child Family Policy after 25 Years", New England Journal of Medicine, 353, No. 11 (September 15): 1171-1176.
  28. ^ The United Nations Population Fund Helps China Persecute Women and Kill Children
  29. ^ "Chinese witness: Beijing forces sterilizations, abortions". CNN. 1998-06-11. 
  30. ^ Damien Mcelroy (2001-04-08). "Chinese region 'must conduct 20,000 abortions'". Telegraph. 
  31. ^ Don't Fund UNFPA Population Control
  32. ^ "Forced Sterilization". 
  33. ^ Foreign Correspondent - 02/08/2005: China - One Child Policy
  34. ^
  35. ^ Full Report on UNFPA's Involvement in China
  36. ^ Don't Fund UNFPA Population Control
  37. ^ Damien McElroy (2002-02-03). "China is furious as Bush halts UN 'abortion' funds". Telegraph. 
  38. ^ Sichan Siv (2003-01-21). "United Nations Fund for Population Activities in China". U.S. Department of State. 
  39. ^ See a report by the Disabled People’s Association of Singapore Aging is now a global issue
  40. ^ [1]
  41. ^ "Consultative Conference: "The government must end the one-child rule"". 2007-03-16. 
  42. ^ "Advisors say it's time to change one-child policy". Shanghai Daily. 2007-03-15. 
  43. ^ Inmagic CS/WebPublisher PRO found 1 records
  44. ^ China backtracks on eugenics law | healthmatters magazine
  45. ^
  46. ^ Dru C. Gladney, "China's National Insecurity: Old Challenges at the Dawn of the New Millennium", Papers from "Asian Perspectives on the Challenges of China", Institute for National Security Studies, National Defense University, March 2000.[2]
  47. ^ Communiqué on Major Data of 1% National Population Sample Survey in 2005
  48. ^ 之十五:控制人口增长成绩巨大 坚持基本国策任重道远
  49. ^ 中国民族
  50. ^ 2005年全国1%人口抽样调查主要数据公报
  51. ^ See, e.g., Sara L. M. Davis, Song And Silence: Ethnic Revival on China's Southwest Borders (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), and Dru C. Gladney, "China's National Insecurity: Old Challenges at the Dawn of the New Millennium", Papers from "Asian Perspectives on the Challenges of China", Institute for National Security Studies, National Defense University, March 2000.[3]
  52. ^ a b Coercive Chinese Birth Control Policy on Uyghurs in Eastern Turkistan
  53. ^ The Plight of the Uyghur People
  54. ^ LifeSite Special Report - China Labels Stanford Researcher "International spy" For Exposing Forced Abortion Policy
  55. ^ Overpopulation.Com » China’s One Child Policy
  56. ^
  57. ^ 郭志刚/李剑钊:农村二孩生育间隔的分层模型研究_文章・争鸣_社会学人类学中国网
  58. ^ New Page 1
  59. ^ [4]
  60. ^ a b chinanews 07-08-2007 Over 1,900 officials breach birth policy in C. China]
  61. ^ Foreign Correspondent - 02/08/2005: China - One Child Policy
  62. ^[dead link]
  63. ^ "Chinese facing shortage of wives". BBC. 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2007-01-12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  64. ^ See the C.I.A. report Sex ratio. The ratio in South Korea reached as high as 116:100 in the early 1990's but since then has moved substantially back toward a normal range, with a ratio of 107:100 in 2005. See "Where Boys Were Kings, a Shift Toward Baby Girls," New York Times, December 24, 2007.
  65. ^ For a study in China that revealed under-reporting or delayed reporting of female births, see M. G. Merli and A. E. Raftery. 1990. "Are births under-reported in rural China? Manipulation of statistical records in response to China's population policies", Demography 37 (February): 109-126.
  66. ^ Oster, Emily (2005). "Hepatitis B and the case of the missing women". Journal of Political Economy. 113 (6): 1163–1216.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  67. ^ Monica Das Gupta, "Explaining Asia's 'Missing Women,'" Population and Development Review 31 (September 2005): 529-535.
  68. ^ This tendency to favour girls in high parity births to couples who had already borne sons was also noted by Coale, who suggested as well that once a couple had achieved its goal for the number of males, it was also much more likely to engage in "stopping behavior", i.e., to stop having more children. See Ansley J. Coale (1996),"Five Decades of Missing Females in China", Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 140 (4): 421-450.
  69. ^ Zeng Yi et al. 1993. "Causes and Implications of the Recent Increase in the Reported Sex Ratio at Birth in China", Population and Development Review 19 (June): 283-302.
  70. ^ Barbara A. Anderson and Brian D. Silver. 1995. "Ethnic Differences in Fertility and Sex Ratios at Birth in China: Evidence from Xinjiang", Population Studies 49 (July): 211-226.
  71. ^ [ "China’s Sex Ratio at Birth: From Doubts About its Existence to Looking for a Solution" Population Research 1/2006 issue 原载《人口研究》2006年第1期
  72. ^ Li Shuzhuo, Wei Yan and Jiang Quanbao, "Girl Survival in China: History, Present Situation and Prospects", background materials for the August 2005 conference "Women and Health" available online in Chinese. The conference was sponsored by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities.
  73. ^ See Human Rights Watch report A Policy of Fatal Neglect in China’s State Orphanages and CHINESE ORPHANAGES A Follow-up.
  74. ^ U.S. State Department report, "Immigrant Visas Issued to Orphans Coming to the U.S.", at
  75. ^ Sten Johansson and Ola Nygren. 1991. "The Missing Girls of China: A New Demographic Account", Population and Development Review 17 (March): 35-51.
  76. ^ Weiguo Zhang. 2006. "Child Adoption in Contemporary Rural China", Journal of Family Issues 27 (March): 301-340.
  77. ^ See Mercury News article on Skinner/Jianhua study.
  78. ^ See Associated Press article US State Department position.
  79. ^ See publication of the United Kingdom Parliament position regarding Human Rights in China and Tibet.
  80. ^ See Amnesty International's report on violence against women in China.
  81. ^ See China Daily report China: Drug bid to beat child ban.
  82. ^ See Shou Yung Guo v. Gonzales, 463 F.3d 109 (2d Cir. 2006).; Jin Xiu Chen v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 468 F.3d 109 (2d Cir. 2006).; Tian Ming Lin v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 473 F.3d 48 (2d Cir. 2007).
  83. ^ See Matter of S-Y-G-, 24 I&N Dec. 247 (BIA 2007). (on remand from Shou Yung Guo v. Gonzales, 463 F.3d 109 (2d Cir. 2006/7)).


External links