21 April, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 09/25/2010
CHINA
The "success" and failure of the one-child law
by Bernardo Cervellera
The infamous law is 30 years old. It has stopped the birth of at least 400 million children. It is a source of violence, abortions, forced sterilizations, injustice. And it is revealing its problems: an aging population, lack of manpower, imbalance between males and females.

Rome (AsiaNews) – China’s one-child law is now marking its 30th anniversary. It was instituted at the same time as Deng Xiaoping’s four modernizations that have allowed the country to make giant leaps in economic development. According to Party leaders, control over the population is another of China’s "successes" and it is heralded as such at all international conferences.

The one-child law has indeed blocked the birth of 400 million children and has allowed a greater enrichment of families, a reduction of government expenditure on health and housing, to plan for a future with fewer unknown factors. Yet, increasingly, there are voices in China that define the one-child law a failure that is now showing its cracks.

The law prohibits couples from having more than one child (farming families or ethnic minorities may have two if the first is female) and those who violate the ban are punished with severe fines and discrimination in the workplace. Thanks to a wide organizational network that relies on the controlling powers of over 80 million employees, an annual quota for new births is set for each province, city and village. To meet the set quota officials from the Office for population control resort to forced abortions (even in the ninth month), sterilizations of women and men, huge fines of up to one or two years annual wages for those who have a second child. The history of contemporary China is full of terrible stories of newborn children suffocated because they fall outside the quota; of parents tortured because they are unable to pay the fine, the abduction of women to force them to undergo sterilization.

The Chinese government defends itself by saying that it now "persuades" citizens not to have more than one child, with economic incentives and that the law is no longer imposed by force. But news reports refute this. Only a month ago AsiaNews published the story of a 23 year-old woman, Li Hongmei, who was kidnapped and taken to hospital for a forced sterilization. Her crime was to have had a child outside the quotas. According to China Daily, almost every year in China - and this is a conservative estimate - at least 13 million abortions occur, all from contraception. Chai Ling, the heroine of Tiananmen Square, now a refugee in the U.S. who has become Christian, has defined the fruits of the one-child law as a daily "Tiananmen massacre".

Added to this is another evil consequence of the law: the preference for male children - especially for farmers - which often leads parents to practice selective abortion of female foetuses. The World Health Organisation has calculated that in the 1980’s at least 20 million women disappeared from China, reversing the proportion of males to females, with the result that a new business has been born: trade in child-brides, the abduction and selling of young girls and women etc.. There is even a trade in women from North Korea, who are marketed in China to sate the sexual desires and dreams of marriage of local men.

The fact that the one child law is a slow suicide of the population is now obvious to many: it has begun to undermine China’s economic growth. Firstly, because the population is aging rapidly. According to the Minister for Labour and Social Security, by 2030 23% of the population will be over 60. That means 351 million new pensioners, which will weigh heavily on state coffers. Consequently, the percentage of citizens depending on the remaining labour force will increase. Currently, the ratio is about 3 workers for one pensioner; in 20 years, it will be 2 to 1, in 1975 the ratio was 7.7 to 1.

But there are also problems for the workforce, which in a country of 1 billion 300 million people will start to run low. So far, China's development has been based on armies of young people from the countryside, ready to work for a few Euros a month. But now young people are scarce and factories are struggling to find workers. This is felt especially in the "golden belt" of Guangdong Province (the most industrialized) and in rich Shanghai. Precisely for this reason the deputies of Guangzhou and Shanghai continue to seek to change the law to allow couples to have at least two children.

Some, as of yet unconfirmed, rumours suggest the government wants to launch a pilot project in five provinces of removing the law to study the effects. So far, however, Beijing has always responded to the claims of scientists and demographers by extolling the success of having denied life to 400 million people.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
03/01/2011 CHINA
China, damage of one-child law points to "risk of collapse"
08/26/2010 CHINA
Young Chinese mother kidnapped and sterilized to enforce one-child law
08/03/2009 INDIA
Catholic hospitals in Kerala recanalise sterilized women
by CT Nilesh
03/22/2006 CHINA
Beijing using violence to enforce its one child policy
12/22/2010 CHINA
One-child law enslaves women's bodies

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope remembers and prays for "latest tragedy" of migrants, "our brothers and sisters" who "are seeking happiness"At the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis says he is praying for the hundreds of victims in a sinking off the coast of Libya. An appeal to the international community to "act decisively and promptly." "Every baptized person is called to witness in word and deed, that Jesus is risen, He is alive and present in our midst." The Christian message "is not a theory, an ideology or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions, or moralism, but a message of salvation, a concrete event, even a person: the Risen Christ, the living and only Savior of all" . The Pope will be in Turin on June 21 to honor the Shroud, the exposition of which begins today.
SAUDI ARABIA – YEMEN
Saudi war in Yemen masks widening domestic tensions
by Afshin ShahiSaudi Arabia is using the conflict in Yemen to control domestic problems, especially social inequalities and religious sectarianism. However, whilst the royal family flaunts its wealth, some 20 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Many disgruntled young Saudis end up becoming "foreign fighters" for the Islamic state (IS). Some 15 per cent of the Saudi population is Shia, under the heavy thumb of the Sunni-dominated state. Afshin Shahi, director of the Centre for the Study of Political Islam and lecturer in International Relations and Middle East Politics at University of Bradford, provides the following lucid analysis.
VATICAN
Pope: on the persecution of Christians, the international community should "not stand by mute and inactive” and “look away”For the sixth time in a week, Pope Francis mentioned the martyrdom of Christians in today’s Regina Caeli (the Marian prayer at Easter), slamming the indifference of the international community towards this "alarming failure to protect basic human rights.” Today’s martyrs "are many, and we can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries." In addition, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is Risen!”

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.