Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Problems Related to the "One Child Policy"


wushijiao
 Share

Recommended Posts

The "One Child Policy" is certainly a controversial issue, and I have mixed feeling about it, being able to see both its pro's and cons. However, the following story by NPR certainly sheds light on some of the more darker ways in which it is enforced in remote places.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9766870

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

If the policy is enforced simply via financial subsidies (or the lack of them) then fine, but if it's enforced any other way (such as that given in the URL above. If it's true; it's not an unbiased source ...) then not fine.

Singapore has the opposite problem. Their MRT was full of posters urging families to have more babies. Many Singaporeans only care about having a nicer decorated apartment than their neighbours so prefer money over kids.

It seems some sort of trade could be worked out ... ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the policy is enforced simply via financial subsidies (or the lack of them) then fine, but if it's enforced any other way (such as that given in the URL above. If it's true; it's not an unbiased source ...) then not fine.

That's kind of how I feel.

Clearly, a lot of China's environmental problems and problems related to poverty are due to over-population. So, I understand the rationale for the policy. Still, there should be some sort of way to avoid the most egregious infringements of people's rights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the policy is enforced simply via financial subsidies (or the lack of them) then fine, but if it's enforced any other way (such as that given in the URL above. If it's true; it's not an unbiased source ...) then not fine.

The natural consequence of that approach is that it will become a "one poor child policy" since families with money won't particularly care whether or not they get a subsidy (or even a fine). In fact, that's what I understand is happening now in many cases.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it will become a "one poor child policy"

Did you mean "one child only policy, only applies if you're poor"? if so, then yes, I agree. That is exactly what's happening now.

What do you recommend as a solution? How would you implement a one-child policy?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, that's exactly what I meant. As for how to avoid the problem... well, actually I don't think you can, at least not completely. I don't think there's any society in the history of humanity that has succeeded in preventing its rich and/or powerful members from skirting the law or outright breaking it without getting punished.

The only approaches that would stand any chance of working on a wide scale (though again, no approach would be completely effective in my opinion) would probably be considered too draconian for most people's taste, and arguably would be very bad for the children. For example, if you're discovered with a second child, both your first and second are removed from your home and put in foster care or put up for adoption.

Well, actually, there's one approach that would stand a very good chance of working: economic prosperity and gender equality across the board. Japan effectively has a one-child policy (or at least a less-than-two-children policy) despite the government's efforts to increase the birth rate, all without forcing anyone to do anything. Urban women with good career prospects seem, on balance, less inclined to have huge batches of kids. (Not, mind you, that I'm suggesting Japan has achieved total gender equality.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

there were laws in place prior to the One Child policy to encourage the fertility rates to drop.. and they were an effective step into the now "necessary evil" population control... Although there are exemptions that exist, mostly for farmers and rural areas, so that about 65% of china are really affected by the policy. So I'm not sure that I agree it is designed to be used against the poor, but the application of the law may find some deviation (ie: people with more money just do what they want).

I think the biggest problem that will come from the policy is the ever growing gender gap issue...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a foreigner and don't know what it feels like but when I think about what would happen to china and to the world if they didn't have this policy I come to the conclusion that it's necessary.
Clearly, a lot of China's environmental problems and problems related to poverty are due to over-population. So, I understand the rationale for the policy.
in china it is not about being fair it is about controling the majority of the population (the poor people) which is vital for the future of china.
and they were an effective step into the now "necessary evil" population control

Am I the only one that does not think like the rest of the posts on here? Right now China is seriously considering abolishing the one child policy due to the fact that they are working themselves into a economic disaster. In the next 50 years at this current rate they will not have enough workers to support and run their economy. Population control is not vital for the future of their China...it will be their destruction. Japan is facing the same type of thing that China will soon be facing.

What would happen to China and the world???? There is no studies that prove our world cannot sustain much more than the current 6.some odd billion. There have been some speculation from the UN, but there are no accepted studies as to what the true effect on the world is.

Poverty and environmental problems have nothing to do with population. Environmental problems are a side effect of bad development not over population. Poverty has to do with uses of natural resources and competition. When I walk into a restaurant that everyday has no more that 10 customers and their are twice that number in employees who mainly sit around all day I have no doubt why poverty exists. Nobody competes and so no new jobs are created; no one pushes the limit so no new jobs are created. This is basic economics. We should all go take a micro economics class and we would understand this a lot better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clearly, a lot of China's environmental problems and problems related to poverty are due to over-population

I think China's environmental problems are more related to the system itself and years of centrally planned state industry.

One of Mao's legacy was his contributions to or emphasis on heavy industry. Gansu's high density of heavy industry, which spills over a hundred million tons of sewage into the Yellow River each year, is an indirect result of this legacy.

I do see some linkage though between the environmental issue and poverty. For example it's quite costly to implement scrubbers or 'closed-cycle' systems in industrial smokestacks in China. The central government has tested a pilot version of this which has proved to curb pollution, but did not approve its implementation due to cost concerns. A mentality prevails where the lowest cost trumps everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Poverty and environmental problems have nothing to do with population. Environmental problems are a side effect of bad development not over population

Are you sure? What developed countries don't use massive amounts of resources and create lots of pollution?

Humans, especially humans living in a modern econmoy, put huge strain on the environment in dozens of ways, even under good circumstances. I certainly agree that, as countries develop and as their people become more enrironmentally aware, their industries become less wastefull and cleaner. But, if I'm not mistaken, the net pollution levels still increase.

All I'm saying is, China, especially if you go to northern and the interior parts of the country, is an ecological disaster. What would happen if they had another 50-100 million people? Almost certainly it would put more strain on the economy, on the development model, and on the environment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Limiting population growth considering China's current performance in energy efficiency, conservation practices, development model, and per capita income; may have been a sensible decision. The One Child Policy would be a sensible decision from this perspective.

Adding 100 million wasteful people to an existing 100 million population with wasteful habits will certainly increase environmental degradation.

Overpopulation is a cause of environmental degradation, but not the main cause. Much of the negative impact of population growth can be mitigated by improved technology; widespread distribution of wealth; increased environmental awareness; and a good developmental model that discourages ownership of cars and sprawl.

China is still a poor, albeit rapidly growing country. However once China reaches the economic status of say Japan (high per capita income, conservationist culture, availability of efficient technology), population control would become less important. Tokyo despite its larger population has better air quality than Beijing. The low levels of car ownership per household in densely populated cities like Tokyo, Manhattan, and Hong Kong show that people will shun cars if there are more attractive alternatives.

Adding 100 million car drivers would make pollution worse. But if all these additional 100 million people drove zero emissions cars or took mass transit, there would be a zero net increase of auto pollution.

So I think yes, the One Child Policy may have inadvertently prevented China's environmental problems from becoming far worse than it is today. No developed nation today achieved economic and population growth without causing substantial environmental damage. Overpopulation is a cause. However I think the former socialist-industrial complex compounded by a command and control structure (instead of local empowerment) are bigger causes. Current practices are another cause. Treating contaminated water costs a factory more than dumping it into rivers, which is a lot easier to do. Also coal is the cheapest energy source.

Inertia is hard to break without a willpower to change it, as Xiamen illustrated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

However I think the former socialist-industrial complex compounded by a command and control structure (instead of local empowerment) are bigger causes

I agree with that. Also, the strucutre of promoting cadres (干部) after "Reform and Opening" relied mainly on GDP growth. So, if you have a huge polluting industry that makes money and makes jobs for the citizens of a city, from the local cadre's point of view, it is win-win. The environmental concern had zero weight in the process.

However, recently China's own environmental tried to mix this situation by measuring provinces and cities "Green GDP", which I think is basically GDP minus the costs of pollution (what it would cost to clean up the mess, the health consequenses for the people...etc). Anyway, it turned out that many provinces and net negative growth when measured by this new standard. Many government officials claimed the new system was unfair. So, as far as I know, they've scraped the idea of Green GDP.

Of course, I'm still not convinced that the "One Child Policy" was the only/best solution to these problems, but I understand the dire context in which it was adopted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the "one child policy" was started in the early 1980s, when there were still very few cars on the road and the environmental problems were not nearly as serious. The impetus for the policy, I think, was the fear that China wouldn't be able to feed itself. Remember this was back when people still needed ration stamps to buy food.

I do agree that much of pollution problem in China is a result of "bad development" rather than poverty. Enforcement of environment laws is inadequate. When factories aren't penalized for dumping waste into the river, they will do it, whether it's in a poor country or a rich one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the "one child policy" was started in the early 1980s, when there were still very few cars on the road and the environmental problems were not nearly as serious. The impetus for the policy, I think, was the fear that China wouldn't be able to feed itself. Remember this was back when people still needed ration stamps to buy food.

There has been a form of the "one child policy" in place since the 50's. The quick summary goes like this.

Mao- In favor of big families

Mao- mid 50's sees population numbers and freaks and then puts in place a cap (I think it was 5 children)

Mao- sees it worked, abolishes policy

And then after that again in the 60's and once again in the 70's a law was in place (still more than one but lower and lower each time), they saw results and then thought they could drop it and that brings us to now.

So it goes beyond just a fear of not enough food and rationing. Back in the 50's it was purely out of shock over how large the nation really was but I would argue that it was unnecessary even at that time due to the fact of the lack of ability to due good studies on the effect of the population on the economy, food supply, etc. And another thing nature has it's ways of keeping balance, I don't understand why the governments want to play God and try to bring balance when actually they wind up doing more harm than good many times or just simply are not able to see the big picture enough to make a truly good decision.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Poverty and environmental problems have nothing to do with population.
Are you kidding me? Industrial pollution isn't generated by animals or plants - but by humans. Habitat loss, suburban sprawl and resource depletion are also from modern humans.

So, do the math. It's not that hard. The more humans, the more environmental destruction and depletion. Unless you're living like a simple "animal," that is the underlying equation that can't be denied. Just think about how much resources YOU alone use and trash you generate per day to support your lifestyle - if you even can. Even the Sierra Club acknowledges that human population is one of the (if not THE) driving factors behind environmental damage today.

As far as poverty, the more mouths to feed - the less food to go around per family. That's why most of the poorest areas in the world (Africa, Latin America, India, ghettoes, etc) all have the highest birth rates. It's no coincidence. And when China had a high birth rate under Mao at first - they plunged into poverty too. But have been rapidly climbing out of it since the 1-child policy was adopted in 1978...

And, relying upon a pyramid scheme to support seniors is NOT feasible in the long run anyways - just like ANY pyramid scheme. Those at the top benefit exponentially but those at the bottom lose out exponentially.

The 1-child policy is an extreme reaction to Mao's initial backwards farmer-thinking, but one that is at least pointed in the right direction for social, economic and environmental progress.

And btw, if anyone is exempt from the policy - it's mostly the poor farmers and minorities (the policy only applies to Han Chinese) - and maybe some of the very wealthy too. So, I don't think it targets "the poor," but your average Han Chinese.

Adding 100 million car drivers would make pollution worse. But if all these additional 100 million people drove zero emissions cars or took mass transit, there would be a zero net increase of auto pollution.
Again, you are not seeing all the "invisible" damage here. Even if cars are 0 emissions - they still use gas, lead batteries and required an IMMENSE amount of resources and pollution to manufacture each one. Not to mention the "car-casses" that must be disposed of when they eventually get junked. So, there is still FAAARRR more than a "net zero" increase in auto pollution here!

Truth is, BOTH population AND lifestyle are big factors here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...