Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Chinese Population Policy - Lexa Moon

"There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha

In the 1970s, the Chinese government implemented a series of policies in order to discourage their population of having more that one child per couple. They were introduced in an effort to control the rapidly growing population. This was a first that the Chinese people had seen of such a thing because the Chinese government, before the 70s, had always encouraged many children in order to have a large laboring population. However, this failed after a while because the population grew at what the Chinese government felt was an unmanageable rate. In the 1950s the population growth rate per year was 1.9%. This seems like a lot, and it is. By the 60s the population growth rate was 3% per year. If this had been allowed to continue the population would have nearly doubled in just 24 years, hence the population policy.

The laws were passed to prevent this. However, ancient Chinese traditions and/or social norms call for each couple to have at least one male child. This is part of the age old human patriarchal structure that passes all familial belongings down to the next eldest male in the social order. Well, with the population policy active, the more the population grew, it became more likely that there would be males who would be unable to find a partner to mate with, as the male population quickly out grew the female population. As a result of this the imbalance, the population not only declined, it plummeted. Without enough females available to mate with the growing male population, the overall population could not grow at a healthy rate.

When the Chinese government noticed the alarming population decreases, they set out on an investigation to find out why the population's numbers were declining so rapidly, as they had never intended for the population to decline. It was solely their hope to even out the rapid growth that they had been experiencing. After a brief investigation into the matter, they found out that it was the original population control mechanism established in the 1970s that was responsible for their problem.

This policy became a problem because it bumped up directly against the Chinese tradition, and human tradition for that matter, for deference towards male children. Many families, stuck in tradition and bound by law, put an even heavier preference on males than they had done previously. This had a number of side effects. The first was an obvious drop in over overall economic production. The second, third and fourth effects, however, relate more directly to the declining population issue, and they all three involved female children. Female children were either being abandoned to nature, surrendered to local over crowded orphanages, or put into the midst of a dangerous black market international adoption ring.

In October of 2015, the Chinese government announced its plans to alter the policy and now allow two children per family. A resolution to this effect was passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the national legislature of the People's Democratic Republic of China, on December 27, 2015. It was proposed in an effort to balance the male-female ratio and reverse the now decade plus population decline. The new law was effective as of January 1, 2016. As of yet, it is too early to accurately measure how effective, or ineffective, this policy will be. To conclude, one might take notice of the fact under both laws, families who wished to exceed the limit on the number of children allowed per family, have always been able to do so. They just have to be able to pay a tax penalty for every child that they have exceeding the allowable limit. The reason the policy was never effective, however, was because most Chinese citizens could not afford the dramatic tax hike.

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