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China's One Child Policy Essay

4053 words - 17 pages

China’s One Child Policy; Impacts on the Society, the Economy, and the People.

David Goheen

December 14, 2007

Executive Summary
During the years before the implementation of the One Child Policy, the leaders of China were involved in wars, a great leap forward, and an industrial revolution. In the last twenty five years China’s One Child Policy has affected the country in every way one can imagine. This paper will attempt to explore the major ways the policy has affected the people of China socially, and how the economy has reacted with the change. A brief history on the traditional views of Chinese families, before the policy’s implementation, is outlined ahead of ...view middle of the document...

.….. 8

VII. Single Child’s Development and Burden……… 12

VIII. Current Policy Status………………………………….. 13

IX. Concluding Comment…………………………….…...16

X. Bibliography……………………………………………..... 18

Traditional View
Traditionally, Chinese families were patriarchies. Marriages were arranged by the family of the groom and the family of a suitable bride. The bride would then go to live with the family of her groom. Besides young boys, every male outranks a female in the family hierarchy. Young girls were normally treated as outsiders. The daughters were perceived as having a low status and were only temporarily there; destined to marry out and never return to support her family. The life expectancy for males and females was, on average, around twenty four and twenty five. This average is so low because three out of five children died before the age of five. The life expectancy for a child that lived past five was still only thirty-eight years old on average. It was also rare to have a family with both parents and even rarer to find families with third and forth generations living. (3)
Policy Background
In 1949 Mao Zedong entered into power over China and strongly encouraged a population growth. China's Communist government was also determined to overturn China's patriarchal family and marriage customs. The very first major law passed by China was the Marriage Law of 1950. It outlawed arranged marriage, child marriage, prostitution, polygamy, and concubinage. (3) Mao Zedong wanted large families to increase productivity so China could enter into the age of modernization. Politicians pushed for regulation but Mao was against it. He was quoted saying:
"More hands make light work" (1)
In 1976 Mao Zedong left power, but during his time period as ruler, the population grew by 71% and was rapidly approaching a billion people by the end of his reign. His encouragement had succeeded. China had a huge workforce along with a growing population which helped move China into the industrial age that it has been in ever since. When Deng Xiaoping took over power of China he knew this huge increasing population had to be halted. He, and the Chinese government, put out an official statement in 1979 saying:
“Women who give birth to one child will be praised; Women who give birth to three or more will suffer sanctions.”(2)
This was not a law. It was a simple encouragement to the people to have fewer children. The policy does allow many exceptions, though they are limited. The policy is flexible when couples have twins. The number of children couples are legally allowed to have varies by ethnicity, employment, and area of residency. (8; pg 46)
It was not long before the first failure came into view of the world. The policy played unfairly against different classes, especially rural farm families. Rural families needed more farm help and larger families. They were, in a sense, punished for needing bigger families to run their...

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