Ahead of the government's expected announcement about changes to the structure of One-Child Policy enforcement in China, more voices are joining the chorus against the policy.
Liz Carter of Tea Leaf Nation noted in a post at The Atlantic that one delegate received widespread attention on Weibo (Chinese Twitter) when he spoke out against the One-Child Policy. He Youlin, a member of the delegation from Guangdong, said he has been concerned about China's demographic trends and would continue to fight restrictive family planning. Carter writes:
"Two years ago I raised this matter, and I raised it against last year. I will raise it again this year!" remarked He Youlin. "We must allow Chinese to have a second child. We cannot wait another minute." The top five comments on this Sina article, each receiving more than 500 "likes," expressed support for He's proposal.
...As recently as January of this year, the head of China's National Family Planning Commission affirmed that the policy was in place for the long term. In response to the statement, NPC delegate He Youlin said, "That isn't right. You can't consider such matters from the perspective of your professional department. You should think about it from the perspective of a people's development, of the future strategic development of our country."
It may be that the government department responsible for brutally enforcing the One-Child Policy will be merged with another very soon. Chinese media have reported that the government will announce its proposed changes to to the Family Planning Commission's structure on Sunday, and they may publicize changes to the One-Child Policy as well.
This week, reporters pelted Wang Pei'an, Vice Minister of Family Planning, with questions as he attended the National People's Congress. They asked him if the government would roll out changes to the One-Child Policy.
"Time will tell," said Mr. Wang. He noted that restrictions had been eased in Shanghai, Tianjin, and five provinces (Liaoning, Jilin, Jiangsu, Anhui and Fujian), where a couple may now have two children if only one of the parents is from a single-child family. (Previously, couples were only eligible for a second child if both parents were only-children.) But such small measures are unlikely to satisfy delegates like He Yuolin and others who are increasingly frustrated with the One-Child Policy and its impact on China.
Australian professor Rob Brooks wrote a piece this week that highlighted some of the growing concerns about China's gender imbalance under the One-Child Policy:
China is already feeling the effects of so many bare branches. The economist Lena Edlund estimates that every one percent increase in the sex ratio results in a six percent increase in the rates of violent and property crime. In addition, the parts of China with the most male-biased sex ratios are experiencing a variety of other maladies, all tied to the presence of too many young men. Gambling, alcohol and drug abuse, kidnapping and trafficking of women are rising steeply in China. ...It would be difficult to overstate the urgent need for China to emulate South Korea in eliminating sex-biased abortion and neglect.
Brooks pointed to the following chart to show the increase in China's gender imbalance over time:
The need is certainly urgent, so let's keep praying that God would embolden more and more delegates to voice opposition to the One-Child Policy!
(Image: Ed Jones, AFP/Getty Images)
by Kat Lewis, All Girls Allowed
The Brookings Institution
September 24, 2010
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