China’s One Child Policy is a very controversial one. It involves only one child per married couple. This has led to high abortion figures (sometimes forced or selective), forced sterilisation and even infanticide. However China had no choice but to adopt such a harsh policy, China’s population in the 1970s was 900 million and rising. China didn’t have enough resources to support this growing population, and had strong regional variations. The government realised something had to change and in the early 1970s strongly driven family planning methods were adopted and in 1979 the one child policy was introduced.
China is a huge country (9,600,000 squared kilometres) and has a large number of resources however there is an extreme imbalance between population size and resources available.
1,192 million people live in China that’s 21.4% of the world’s population. This is a lot of people to feed, clothe and house. The population has put a huge amount of tension on the countries limited resources. 25% of China’s land is infertile or desert so no crops can be grown on this land and not many will want to live on it because they wouldn’t be able to support themselves due to the poor soils.
China can be split down the middle from the north east to the south, dividing china into 2 parts, 57% to 43%, the smaller eastern part contains 94% of Chinas population. This is a very densely populated area. Eastern China gets summer rain on the fertile valley and river deltas whereas the further west you go the drier it gets. Eastern China makes up Chinas core, with the most densely populated cities such as Shanghai where there are 2,118 people per square kilometre.
The one-child policy is not a law, as most people think it is it’s a policy enforced by the system of punishments. However there is a Marriage Law introduced in 1980, insisting the practice of family planning. The marriage Law encourages late marriages, late childbirth’s, one child per couple. Having one child is really encouraged, use of propaganda such as posters help this, also the state controls the media so they get to chose what the public see and hear so can make sure it supports and encourages their policies. The policy is encouraged more so in urban areas rather than in the countryside.
Women who are pregnant who have to be authorised by the government, they then get birth coupons entitling them to have a child. Women who don't have their births authorised risk being punished by the government. If you follow the policy rewards can include monthly financial rewards, extended maternity leave, increases land allocation, preferential treatment in education, housing and employment.
There can be exceptions to the one-child policy; some families have had up to three children without a punishment. Families whose first child is unable to work, pregnancy that occurs after couples decided to adopt, and those returning over seas, are allowed to have a second child
The one child policy will have affected the population of China greatly, especially the structure, there will be a lot more elderly people due to improvements in medicine and nutrition. There will also be a huge decline in the number of under 18s for obvious reasons that only one child is allowed per family. There will also be a decline in the number of girls because if parents are only allowed one child then they prefer it to be a boy. Boys carry on the family name and are better labourers, its also a tradition China that once the children grow up they look after their parents and grandparents. If your only child is a daughter then she will move to her husband’s family leaving no other offspring to take care of the parents.