China’s One Child Policy


As China evolves so to does its population policy. The one child policy is often seen as a symbol of China’s autocratic ruling. Its ability to impose the most stringent of restrictions on the most fundamental of human rights- reproduction, has only been seen in negative terms to outsiders.

At the heart of the policy is Malthusian population policy, the belief that an optimum population exists and that when that is exceeded negative strikes such as famine, pestilence or war will kick in. In economic terms it is hard to argue against the policy that has undoubtedly played a part in China’s astounding growth. Until the last financial year GDP was growing at a double digit rate and had been doing so for over a decade.

The links below aim to cast light on the one child policy as it stands today. It is your job to work in pairs to follow the link before posting a brief summary as a comment. You should also be prepared to present your findings to the class.

Source 1- The Telegraph online 

Source 2- The Metro

Source 3- The Guardian

Source 4- BBC 


6 thoughts on “China’s One Child Policy

  1. China has decided to relax its one child policy in relation to strain that has come about by having an increasingly ageing population. In recent times elderly citizens have demonstrated against the policy that has led to 336 million abortions and over 200 million sterilisations.

  2. As a result of the OCP, China’s birth rate has decreased dramatically, and this is now starting to cause problems. The OCP has led to 336m abortions and 222m sterilisations – causing huge uproar. Similarly to the UK, China is now facing an ageing population and the workforce is shrinking – it shrunk by 3 million last year. The ratio of workers to every pensioner is currently 5:1, but this is expected to fall to 2:1 by 2035. This man thy there will not be enough people in the working population to support the elderly.

    The OCP is expected to be lifted to allow two children as opposed to one, first to families where at least one parent is an only child, and then hopefully to the rest of the population by 2015. As those who were born as the OCP was put in place are now coming up to child-bearing age, this shift in policy should induce a baby boom.

    So, although this change in policy will help solve the problem with the shrinking working force and growing ageing population, as well as content amongst the sibling less Chinese population, it could lead to a large baby boom resulting in huge potential problems for future generations.

  3. Up to the 1960’s/70’s many families still had up to 6 or 7 children. However this began to change under the rule of deng xiaoping.
    When chairman Mao came to power in 1949-1976 he believed a fast growing population was necessary to produce a productive work force to become a world power. Deng xiaoping reversed this trend and believed population growth had too much affect of the economic recovery after years of political turmoil. In September 1980 the communist party issued a letter to all the youth leagues encouraging them to only have 1 child.
    The government claims this policy has helped the country achieve 400 million births during the last 30 years, however it may not be entirely due to the implication of the policy. The reduction may be due to a fall in fertility rate due to the government encouraging delayed marriages, resulting in longer intervals between births and fewer children. For example before it was introduced China’s fertility rate reduced from 5 to around 2.
    Some people suggest that instead of suppressing it thine government should lift the policy as there are too many men who can’t find wives and an ageing population are causing a larger dependency ratio. Beijing may end the one child policy soon… The clock is ticking

  4. The guardian one child policy article:
    Even though it was meant to be a transitional measure it is still having negative effects on China’s development and on children of families who didn’t pay the fine for having more then one child.
    Children like this do not have a registered identity in society which leads to no access to basic services and opportunities.
    There have been attempts to change the policy but the changes have been marginal, at the moment there is talk of change it to a 2 child policy by 2015.
    There’s been a large human cost of the policy e.g. Abortions and gender gap
    Many people have been able to buy themselves out of trouble but this is not possible for disadvantaged people.

  5. The Metro one child policy article:
    Recently, Chinese parents of only children who have died prematurely, in accidents or from illness have protested against the government’s One Child Policy. Even after losing their baby these parents were unable to have second child which results in financial and emotional struggles. The government has announced that they are planning on relaxing the laws slightly because of the aging population problems in Asia.

  6. Families who have a second child and refuse to pay the (which can be up to 1.3m yuan- (£136,000) will find themselves with an undocumented child who is unable to go to school, buy a train ticket, buy certain medicines and will find it exceedingly difficult to get a job. A uniform two-child rule might be adopted from 2015, and authorities were considering allowing couples a second birth if one parent was an only child, however this discussion has been ongoing for over 20 years now.

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