For more than thirty years, China has been under the effect of the “One-Child Policy”. Ever since then there has been a debate over whether or not China should maintain this policy active. The purpose of the law is to control China’s widening population. Although its objective has been accomplished, it has brought additional problems to the Chinese society.
The law was created by Deng Xiaoping in 1979 and was designated as a “temporary measure” imposed to control China’s population growth. The law consists in limiting couples residing in China to having only one child. According to the Chinese Official Statistics, in the first twenty years that this law was practiced, the population of China reduced 300 million people from its prior population of 1.3 billion people. This makes it clear that the rule has helped to reduce the population growth as much as the Chinese government expected it to. In addition to reducing its population, China’s “One-Child Policy” was thought to eradicate poverty. The government thought that if they controlled the population growth by imposing this policy, each individual would receive more resources. They conceived that if they followed these steps, they would succeed in achieving their objective.
It is undeniable that the “One-Child Policy” has been an effective way to alleviate the surging population of one of the largest countries in the world. Nonetheless, as society develops, several social problems have arised. In the first place, it is important to consider the ways by which this law is being followed; fines, pressures to abort a pregnancy, and even forced sterilization are some of the means used by couples in order to prevent a second pregnancy. Additionally, one of the biggest problems that China has been confronting in the past years is having an unbalanced population. It is said that there are far more men than women in China. “By 2020, there will be about 40 million Chinese men unable to marry, because too few girls will have been born. Sociologists say that could trigger aggressive behavior among frustrated bachelors, including kidnapping and trafficking in women.” (VOA, 2006). This fact argues the negative effect that this law may have on women in the future; it might encourage men to abuse women or put their lives in danger. Another conflict faced by the Chinese government is the need to respond to the problem of a rapidly-ageing population. Investigations have revealed that the “One-Child Policy” has hurt China’s economic growth due to the fact that China’s labor pool has been strongly affected. This information was gathered in 2012 when the Chinese working age population, which was 930 million, fell for the first time in many years. If this continues, the law enforcement could make China lose its workforce by 2025.
In addition to all of these issues provoked by the law enforcement, the “One-Child Policy” in China has severely abused one of the most essential human rights, freedom. This is specially applied for women since it violates their rights of reproduction by forbidding them to have more than one child. According to Steve Tsang, a professor of Chinese studies at the University of Nottingham “The policy change should lead to a significant reduction in the abuse of human rights, in terms of forced termination. This is still a very, very, very big issue, and it is one of the most regular abuses of human rights that happens in China.”
Despite the fact that the “One Child Policy” had a positive effect on the Chinese population during its first years of enforcement, it has also caused many inharmonious social conflicts among its society; one of the most important ones is the violation of human rights. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.” This quote reflects the importance of human rights among our society, and by following Roosevelt’s words, I think we must seek to gain the rights humans deserve.
Maria Clara Cobo