China’s One Child Policy

The People’s Republic of China implemented the one child policy to control the booming population of China. This meant that all families could only have one child unless they lived rurally, where they could have a second child if there first child was a girl or disabled (men were needed for labour).

It was introduced in 1979 to fix the societal problems arising from the booming population and has been estimated to have stopped approximately 200 million births in the last 35 years. However, there have been issues of forced abortions, female infanticide and something known as ‘Little Emperor Syndrome’ (where the only child gets spoilt!).


Today, China has just implemented a resolution which eases the one child policy. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress has now allowed couples to have a second child if both parents are an only child, but it needs legislative approval before gaining effect.

Experts argue the lack of youth in China is leading to a reduced number of people who are working and increased care for the elderly (China is expected to have 25% of its population over the age of 65 by 2050). There is also a massive gender imbalance in the country.

The new resolution hopes to deal with the new issues facing society as a result of the one child policy, whilst maintaining the fairly low birth rate in the country.

What do you think about China’s planned change to the One Child Policy?

Thanks for reading and please do share,

Digestible Politics

2 comments on “China’s One Child Policy

  1. illero says:

    This one-child policy always baffled me. We tend to think of the Chinese leadership, I think, as intelligent and shrewd, with long-term objectives in mind. And yet, that leadership imposed a policy that had totally predictable outcomes. The loss of 50-75% of an entire generation, with the loss of valuable labor, and the predictable aging of the entire population . . . Another of those “What were they thinking?” moments. Perhaps their initial plan was, in fact, to hold down industrial growth, ignore health initiatives that would inevitably extend the lives of the older generation — perhaps even to kill the elderly as well as the fetuses, to maintain a certain bizarre balance? And to just watch the situation evolve into a serious problem over 35 years without doing anything about it? Without, in fact, even seeming to notice that the bubble for the age-related demographic keeps on moving to the right on the chart? Perhaps they DID foresee all this, and just concluded that they could work their older people longer? I can’t argue that China doesn’t have a population challenge — it’s almost exactly the same land area as the U.S. and has in excess of a billion people more, or well over 4 times the population of the U.S. The Chinese may come out of all this “planning” looking like geniuses, but I don’t see how. The “rock-and-hard-place” analogy applies.

  2. An issue with China’s One Child Policy was the 4:2:1 scenario: four grandparents produce two parents who produce one child… who must pay for the retirement of the other six…. Another issue is the number of younger people leaving the rural areas for the cities looking for education and more employment opportunities.

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