Many Not Satisfied with China's New "Two-Child Policy"

IMAGE: TUMBLR.COM

Last November, China made significant changes to its One-Child Policy. The newly tweaked One-Child Policy now allows parents to have two children if one of them is an only child. Not all provinces have implemented the new policy, but it is gradually spreading across China. Shanghai and Beijing, two of China’s most famous cities, both recently adopted the policy changes.

To eligable parents who ant to have two children, this is fantastic news. However, not everybody is thrilled with this change. There are several reasons for this.

 

Much of the criticism of the “relaxed” One-Child Policy is based on its inability to fix China’s demographic problems. In order to boost China’s economy, the One-Child Policy was implemented in 1980 with the aim of slowing population growth--an act that Forbes refers to as “economic illiteracy”. While the policy may have slowed population growth since 1979, it has also brought on a myriad of negative consequences.

Chief among these consequences are China’s extreme gender imbalance and rapidly ageing population.

 

Because parents are only allowed one child under the policy, they prefer to have boys in order to carry on the family name. This is a major cause of China’s gendercide problem and is responsible for the current skewed gender ratio of 118 boys to every 100 girls. In 2012, the CIA World Factbook reported that China had 40 million more males than females. This female shortage is estimated to leave 30 million men without wives by 2020.

 

Additionally, a sharp drop in birth rates has left China with a large elderly population and a shrinking workforce to provide for them. Yuan Xin, a university professor and director of Nankai University’s Aging Development Strategy Research Center, projects that by 2050 only 52% of the population will be of working age. This 52% will be supporting the elderly 34% of the population and the 16% who are children.

 

To remedy these demographic disasters, the Chinese government announced its changes to the One-Child Policy in November. But will this really solve China’s problems? The tweaked policy still excludes many couples from having another child because one parent must be an only child in order to apply for a birth permit for a second child. An article in the Wall Street Journal captured the frustration 25-year-old Tan Yudan expressed at her shrinking choices for her future family:

 

“I should not have to worry whether or not [my future spouse] is a single child. Instead, I would rather focus on how happy we could be in marriage. What if I had a boyfriend with siblings right now? Would I break up with him?” she says. “Luckily, I am single, so I have the chance to consider looking for someone suitable. But that also means that, without even considering a potential’s boyfriend character, talent, economic situation or looks, my pool of potential partners greatly decreases.”

Carefully choosing a mate is only the first challenge mothers encounter when trying to have two children. In Beijing, mothers also cannot have a second child until at least four years after the birth of their firstborn. On top of that, the mother must be no younger than 28.

 

Government requirements are not the only obstacles preventing couples from immediately having more children. The rising price of education and housing is enough to dissuade many parents from having multiple children. Mao Xiaodan, a 27-year-old lawyer and soon-to-be mother expressed her financial concerns to the New York Times, arguing, “With two kids you have less money to give them the best.”

 

The complicated process of getting a second birth permit is another hurdle that confronts parents. In order to obtain a permit for a second child, parents must provide numerous personal documents, and get approval from several different agencies in their hometowns--a process that can take months.

 

These are a few of the reasons many couples are saying “No” to a second child. A survey by the Ministry of Health and Family Planning as cited by Chinese state news media Xinhua says that 15 to 20 million people are eligible to get another birth permit, but only half of them are actually willing to have two children. This leaves many doubtful of the effectiveness of the new policy. As an article by CNN Money points out, “even if birth rates were to increase, it would take 15 years -- or more -- for those children to enter the labor force”. Until then, China will continue to struggle with the detrimental side effects of the One-Child Policy that have dominated families for the last three decades. This is why many experts are calling for a complete end to the One-Child Policy in China.

 

It is excellent to see and hear new dialogues opening up about the One-Child Policy’s negative effects. Whether the new changes will work or not, many agree that the One-Child policy is a bad idea. Praise God!

 

As we continue to encourage and engage in these conversations, there is one important thing to keep in mind. When dealing with numbers, statistics, and cost-benefit analysis, it is easy to forget that there are real families behind this issue. We often get caught up in the economic and demographic side of this policy and get sucked into political debates. While these are all real and important aspects of the problem, we cannot forget that every day families are torn apart and babies are killed. That is the actual face of the One-Child Policy.

Economic and demographic arguments get complicated, but what remains true is that families are suffering and need to know the love of Christ. It is wonderful that people are beginning to challenge the foundations of the One-Child Policy and call for its end. As we pray for an end to the One-Child Policy, let us always remember the lives it affects and continue to act on God’s command to “Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.” (Proverbs 31:8, Common English Bible)

by Emilie, All Girls Allowed

 

You can join the fight to defend the voiceless today! Click here to see how you can get involved from wherever you are.

 

All Girls Allowed (http://www.allgirlsallowed.org) was founded in 2010 with a mission to display the love of Jesus by restoring life, value and dignity to girls and mothers in China and revealing the injustice of the One-Child Policy.  “In Jesus’ Name, Simply Love Her.”

 


 




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