03/16/2007, 00.00
CHINA
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Consultative Conference: “The government must end the one-child rule”

A group of members taking part in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which ended yesterday, asked the government to restore the two-child rule: current policy creates social problems and personality disorders in young people.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Some 30 delegates of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) are calling on the government to abolish the 28-year-old one-child rule, because “it creates social problems and personality disorders in young people.”
 
The proposal was prepared by Ye Tingfang, a professor of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who suggests that the government at least restore the previous rule that allowed couples to have up to two children. According to this scholar, “the one-child limit is too extreme. It violates nature’s law and, in the long run, will lead to mother nature’s revenge.”
 
Family planning is a cornerstone of the Communist government’s policy and currently affects 90 million Chinese families. This “is taking a toll in terms of social problems such as a gender imbalance and an ageing population. Disorder in the social environment is emerging as a result, with many people having psychological problems and becoming more selfish and reclusive.”: this because “children do not have siblings or cousins to play with. It is not healthy for children to play only with their parents and be spoiled by them: it is not right to limit the number to two, either. But totally abolishing the population control policy would be impossible, so we suggest at least restoring the original policy of two children per family.”
 
The professor and delegates have no doubts, however, that their proposal will be ignored by the central government, which has always “been deaf” to the Conference’s proposals.
 
The same holds for the other topics dealt with by the CPPCC members, who are meeting at the same time as the delegates of the National People’s Congress (NPC).  Their meeting ended yesterday, and during the 11 days of deliberations, delegates, who for the most part are retired leaders, experts and private entrepreneurs, looked at social questions, even criticizing government health, education and internal migration policies.
 
Qiu Guoyi, age 71 and a 20-year Conference veteran, explains, however, that all this “has no affect on the Party’s policy.  We discuss questions, but they decide on the basis of other considerations. Plus, none of us can claim to represent the people, as we were not elected, but named.”
 
Another Conference member, Lin Shengzhong, is of the same view and adds, “The existence of the Conference made sense in the 1980s: delegates could speak freely on anything and even criticize the government. Since the end of that decade, there has been a return of Maoist censorship and one cannot even speak out against corruption which is thriving in every corner of our society.”
 
The South China Morning Post writes that such views are also held by the public, which sees the CPPCC as a “political flower vase”: decorative but “contributing little to the nation’s development.”
 
Before the NPC’s establishment, the CPPCC was the country’s main legislative body, responsible for the enacting of laws on which the founding of the People’s Republic of China depended. Today, this forum is not legislative, and does not have the power to name government representatives. For the most part, the role of members is to advice the Congress, while other members take part as experts. Jia Qinglin is CPPCC president.
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