China’s One Child Policy: A Detriment To The Nation

1791 words - 8 pages

In 1979, China implemented a one child per family policy. This policy was designed to reduce crowding and to maintain a stable economy. Families who do not adhere to this policy are charged fines and are pressured to abort second or third pregnancies and to undergo sterilization surgery. They may also be subject to social ridicule and disproval. There are certain exemptions to this policy. For example, in certain areas of rural China, couples are allowed to have two children. If both individuals in a couple come from single child home, they too may be allowed to produce two children. While these exceptions may seem to increase the fairness of this policy, the policy itself is completely ...view middle of the document...

This is because in some areas of China, it is customary for a couple to move into the husband’s parental home after marriage in order to assist in caring for the husband’s parents. The husband’s parents pay the bride’s parents a “bridal price” in order to compensate for this loss (Bulte, Heerink, & Zhang, 2011). Having a son ensures that parents will have somebody to care for them when they are older.
Due to this preference for male children over female children, sex selective abortion and female infanticide have become increasingly serious issues. This has led the Chinese government to pass multiple laws banning infanticide and banning the use of gender determining ultrasound technology (British Broadcasting Corporation, 2010). Even though the use of gender determining technology is banned in China, research shows that it is still being used (Zhu, Lu & Hesketh, 2008). Since, in most areas of China, couples are only allowed to have one child, couples will use this ultrasound technology to determine the sex of their baby, and then, if the baby is a girl, may choose to have an abortion (Zhu, Lu & Hesketh, 2008). The number of cases of female infanticide has also increased in China since the implementation of the one child policy (British Broadcasting Corporation, 2010). Couples with a strong male preference who give birth to a daughter may feel desperate enough to kill the baby. This is a horrific crime that should not be committed under any circumstances. The fact that the one child policy has lead to an increase in female infanticide and sex selective abortions illustrates the destruction and harm that this policy has caused.
Another way that the one child policy has altered the sex ratio in China is through the increase in the number of female births that are unreported (Zhu, Lu & Hesketh, 2008). Many couples in China who give birth to a girl decide to hide the pregnancy by not registering the girl so that they can then try for a boy. This practice is also illegal in China, but researchers feel it is another major contribution to the large distortion in the sex ratios (Bulte, Heerink, & Zhang, 2011). This not only has negative psychological effects on the girl child, but also has negative consequences if the parents are caught doing this. The implementation of the one child policy has greatly increased the gender gap between males and females. This illustrates how inefficient and problematic this policy actually is.
As well as distorting the gender ratios in China, another reason why the one child policy is detrimental to the Chinese population is that there are many negative psychological consequences for both parents and children associated with it. Due to the obvious preference for male children and the fact that in most areas of China parents are only allowed to have one child, there are additional psychological problems faced by girls. Girls in single child homes may feel inadequate, unwanted and pressured (Hesketh & Zhu, 1997)....

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