Thursday, September 9, 2010

China Making Adjustments in One Child Policy

I think my headline is a bit more realistic -- the headline in Time is China Could Overthrow One-Child Rule:

The Chinese government is beginning to rethink its famed one-child limit as it begins to lift the restriction in five provinces with low birth rates.

The pilot projects, which are set to begin in 2011, allow for a second child per family if at least one spouse is an only child. USA Today reports that Beijing, Shanghai and four other provinces will follow suit in 2012, with nationwide adoption of the new policy expected by 2013 or 2014. In 1979, China's one-child policy was introduced after decades of huge population boom followed by mass death due to resulting food shortages. The policy, which has prevented 400 million births, restricted the country's ethnic Han majority to have only one child per family (exempting most ethnic minorities) and has remained nearly the same since, though a few exceptions have been made. (Some rural farm families have been allowed to have a second child if the first is a girl.)

A wide gender imbalance, as well as the need for more children to care for parents, has likely influenced the government's tight control on the country's birthrate.
What the article describes are some incremental changes.  The rule already allows more than one child when BOTH parents are only children, now it seems they will allow it when only ONE parent is an only child.  Incremental change, but a good change nonetheless.

1 comment:

Patty said...

I'm not sure why this keeps getting repeat press coverage. This is basically a rehash from earlier in the year and is not new news at all.

Besides, they have been doing regional exceptions to the policy for parents who are only children themselves in a majority of provinces for a number of years now in China.

From a practical standpoint though, most younger urban Chinese are culturally averse to more then one or two children in todays China anyway. This is true even in Taiwan now, where ther is no such policy. Rural China is another matter still, but rural Chinese have never been under enforcement of the one child policy really anyway. With rare exceptions, rural Chinese have always been allowed multiple births.

So the entire topic I guess makes for good filler news on a slow news day, but is pointless really. As I recall, the central government has formally stated that they will not revisit a full repeal of the one child policy until at least 2020 when it is next scheduled for formal review.