One-child policy facts. Is China in danger?

Last week came back from our short but intensive trip to China. We were very excited to finally visit this famous country. We honestly have no idea what to expect. We’ve heard different stories about China: that it is crowded, that Chinese people are weird, that they don’t speak English and that they are very smart. There were some interesting facts that we knew for sure though: that China is the factory of the world and that their government limited people’s fertility by one-child policy.

Beijing surprised us. We were expecting the hustle and bustle but all we saw was a peaceful and beautiful city. Comparing to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, it seemed like a small town on the countryside. We absolutely love it! We hate big cities, traffic jams and crowds, so Beijing seemed perfect for us.

Traffic jam in Beijing

One-child policy

Few days after arrived, we started to noticing something weird. There were no little girls on the street, in the subway or in the restaurant. All we saw was boys of different ages, walking proudly with his parents or grandparents.

We started to count how many children we can see during 1 hour walk in Beijing. We saw 30 children. 25 were boys and only 5 were girls. We were devastated by this huge discrepancy. We wouldn’t be ourselves if we didn’t start digging. We were searching the Internet to find out more about the one-child policy and predominance of boys over girls.

And finally we found a book that was an eye opener for us: One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment. It shows the truth about the one-child policy in China. 

The Great Wall of China Beijing

One-child policy came into force in 1980 and was change into two-child policy in 2015. It means that most of the people of childbearing age right now in China have no siblings. Of course there are thousands of exceptions from that rule. For example you could have the second child if you are the only kid your parents have. Or you live in a specific region on China.

Risky legal strategy.

You all know what was the reason of the one-child policy: Chinese government was afraid that there would be too many people in China if the the birth rate will remain at a high level. The other reason was that they wanted to increase the GDP (Gross Domestic Product per capita) and they believed that large population will only make it lower.

What they didn’t foresee were:

  1. There will be lack of girls in China.

Most Asian countries, including China, believe that having a son is the most important goal to achieve at life.

It has a cultural background. Son is always the one who stays with his parents and take care of them when they are old (there’s no age pension in China). And the girl ‘goes’ to his husband family, she is not responsible for her own parents but for her parents in law.

Of course nobody can choose the sex of the child, it’s up to the nature. That’s why female foeticide is very popular in China. It is the selective abortion of girls in the womb. It’s official forbidden by the law, the gynaecologist can’t tell anyone the sex of the baby. But of course one ‘little’ bribe can open their mouths.

This phenomenon will have a huge impact on the entire country. In the future, there won’t be enough women in China. Chinese men will be forced to marry foreigners or… the population of the country will fall dramatically.

Lack of women in China due to one-child policy

2. Hundreds of thousands of people will suffer.

Having a second child was literally illegal in China. The families had to pay crazy high penalties for breaking this law. If they didn’t have enough money, they were forced to perform an abortion. Even if the woman was 8 or 9 months pregnant…

It’s not an abortion, it’s a murder.

Do you know how this kind of ‘operation’ is performed? The little baby in mommy’s belly got an injection of poison in his head. For a short while he is twisting in pain and then he dies. Then they take him away from his mommy’s belly and throw him in the trash. Like he wasn’t a human, like he was a rubbish… Even though he is fully developed and his little heart was beating few minutes ago…

THAT’S how they do it in China. It’s inhumane, barbaric and brutal.

Most women DON’T WANT to perform the abortion but they really have no choice. If they decide to run away and hide, they family would be arrested (usually their parents). They would keep them in prison until the woman will kill his child.

YES. Kill his child. Because killing a newborn is also a common phenomenon in China.

Do you see now how big tragedy is the one-child policy? How much suffer and pain it cause?

It is also worth to mention that most villages have at least one person who knows everything about his neighbours fertilities. If he notice something strange, he is obligated to report it to the government.

One-child policy in China

3. China’s population will not grow that fast anyway.

In the second half of XX century, the world’s population began to grow very fast. The governments of most Asian countries began to worry that they won’t be able to feed so many people. So they created public awareness campaigns to convince the citizens to have one or two children.

It worked. Everywhere. China could have done the same without forcing her people to kill their own children.

The speed of population growth had slowed over time all over the world anyway.

China's population one-child policy

4. 4-2-1 phenomenon will be very common.

What is 4-2-1? It’s 4 old people (parents) that don’t can’t live without a help from their 2 children (husband an wife). And they have only 1 children to support them when they get old.

Taking into consideration that the life expectancy is increasing, it’s very likely that this one child will have to take care of his parents and grandparents!

So one man will have to earn for his family, for his and his wife parents. And maybe even his grandparents. Feeding 10 people from one salary may be difficult, right?

Old people in China

5. It will be very difficult to reverse.

More than 30 years of one-child policy in China has its consequences. Most Chinese people right now doesn’t want a second child, even though they are allowed to have it since 2015.

They believe that having more than one child is too expensive and time-consuming.

Chinese government didn’t predict it back in 1980. Who knows, maybe in few years young Chinese couples will be forced to have more children? And there will be penalties for having only one baby…

Flag of China

6. China may have not enough manpower in the future.

It may sounds funny but it may be true. China is the factory of the world, almost everything is produced there. They need millions of people to work and it’s very likely that they will need more every year.

It’s very easy to calculate that if only 1 child will be born for a couple, the population of China will decrease. And there won’t be enough people to work in the factories.

Hotel Jen Upper East Beijing Best hotel BeijingThe power of China can really fall due to one foolish decision made 36 years ago. One-child policy was an experiment and it failed… Now China will bear the consequences. No one expected that the demography may have such a big influence on the economy.

What do you think about one-child policy in China? 

2 Responses

  1. While that practice is obviously horrible I dare say that countries who suffer from overpopulation and families with too many children to feed them is as well. Are there statistics that government implemented activities to minimize family size voluntarily actually worked in Asian countries? I kind of doubt it looking at some of them.
    Also, one correction – the rule was changed to 2 children in 2007 with the addition that both parents had to be only children. It was changed to one parent had to be an only child in March 2015 and since October both parents can come from families with more than one child in order to have 2 children.

    1. Yes, you are right. The rule changed faster but not for all Chinese people. There were also some areas of China where having 2 children were possible to everyone before 2015.
      Thank you for mentioning this information, it is very important.
      Yes, there are some statistics that prove that the size of family in Asian countries had changed. Take for example Thailand. In 1971 the government created Family Planning social campaign which main purpose was to slow down the growth of the population. They succeeded and reduced the population growth from 3.2% to 1.6% in just 15 years.

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We are Karolina, Patryk, and Mia, the lazy traveling family. After spending 5 years as digital nomads, and living in many countries in the world, we decided to make Poland our base.

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