Population and Health – One-child Policy

October 20, 2008 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

The population is growing. How to prevent or limit the growth? It is necessary or desirable to control the population? In developing world, the problem is poverty and economic injustice, rather than population (Scott Sernau: Global Problems). However, some oppose the contraception, because of religion and cultural reasons. For example, the Chinese society as more children brings prosperity to their families. Due to large population, the government of China came out with the much controversial one-child policy? Does it really work?

“China’s family planning policy has prevented 400 million births, officials say.” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7000931.stm). This policy was first introduced in 1979. The one child policy received many criticisms during this period but the government insisted that the policy is a success, because there are less 400 million people in China. Besides objection, there are also voices of agree. Recently, China has become one of the economic super powers in the world therefore, middle-class and double-working family increased by any means. The rise of education and economic power lower the fertility rate. I quote this: “It wouldn’t matter what my financial situation was or what the government regulations were, I’d still only want one child” from a mother in China. She probably doesn’t have any free time to raise a kid. One-child is still preferred in many of the families in the urban area.

The decrease of fertility rate poses a big problem for the country in the long run. According to the site, the fertility rate is unable to keep the population stable at the moment. If the policy still continues, that means there will be more old people in the country, the workforce will have insufficient labors etc. This is the same problem faces by some of the countries in the world. It is also a problem in Singapore, where the fertility rate is low. It is a sign of rapid development, where the education level increased and the needs to maintain a living have been the biggest part in live for the people. Time to take care of children and raising children are sacrificed for the better of economic status.

Another problem in China is the problem of son preference. Boys are preferred because of their ability to help the family. In rural areas, the sons can help them in the field work. On the other hand, in urban area the sons are able to support them economically, when they’re old. Girls are seen as a “water spread out” after the marriage because they will follow the husband. A lot of female infants are killed for this reason. Consequences of this problem are well-seen in Shanghai, where many bachelors are advertising in the TV for wives. (Scott Sernau: Global Problems) I believe that this problem is unable to eliminate easily because it is deep rooted in the traditional Chinese mind. Boys are preferred in the ancient China of the well-spread of Confucianism, and so it is the new China.

I am again to bring out the question “is it necessary to control the population?” I argue that little interventions are needed by the government to maintain the population but the natural flow of the social world are not to be ignored. As the one-child policy goes, it must be varied to deal with the population problem for example more children in the rich families etc.


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