one child policy





As China is having an enormous economic expansion it is also facing many problems. One of the major problems people have become more and more concerned about is the country\'s population. At the dawn of this century there were some 426 million people living in China. Today the population is about 1.2 billion. About two-thirds of this 900 million increase was added within the last 50 years. In another word, the population has tripled since the People\'s Republic of China was grounded. Today the mainland China alone contributes to at least 20% of the world\'s population.

It is also very well known all over the world that in China couples nowadays are not allowed to have more than one child. This policy was first hinted by Jiang Zemin in a 1979 speech and was in place nationwide by 1981. It has received lot of criticism from almost every corner of the world ever since. Many people, especially people in western countries, consider this policy as a strong violation of human rights.

According to the Chinese tradition there must be a boy among the children in order to continue the family. Many infant females have been abandoned or even worse, killed in order to have another child, hopefully a boy. People can also check the baby\'s gender with the help of technologies during the pregnancy and many female infants were aborted before they are born. The problem following the phenomenon is the unbalanced sex ratio among younger population. There are simply not enough girls. This problem will probably be relevant in a couple of years when today\'s teenagers are about to get married and have families. It is not known how serious the problem will be but it will certainly draw much attention both in China and all over the world. Fortunately the increased education has already begun to show affects in the attitude of the populace. Also, with the shift in the labor force from more strenuous work that was once the majority, to light industry, the need for male children is decreased. Especially in the cities there is almost no such discrimination. So hopefully the problem will not be long-lasting.

In order to escape from the taxes and other punishments of having more than one child, many families simply do not report the birth of new babies. This phenomenon is more common in the countryside because the control is looser and it is easier to get a job and house. This makes the statistics from the government more or less doubtful because the figures do not include the so-called "black population". Many of them could not have enough and proper education and other social benefits. Thus they have to start to work much earlier. It is for example very common in some poor rural areas that girls in the family have to give up school so the family can afford the boys education.

People in rural areas usually are allowed to have two children since the beginning of 1986 while it is strictly forbidden in cities. (However, this exemption was withdrawn in 1995) Researchers have also found that people with lower education tend to have more children in average (of course it is not true in every case). Since families with higher education and better economy usually have fewer children and vice versa, the difference between the spending on each child will somewhat increase. Some experts are thus worried about that the discrepancy between different social classes will increase somewhat in the future, both when it comes to living standard and life style.

If there are so many negative effects following the one-child policy, does this have to be carried out? As we all are aware of, the global significance of China\'s demographics is likewise enormous. Whatever the size of China\'s population is at the dawn of the 21st century it is certain to account of twenty percent of the world\'s projected population. Since the world\'s population is nearing the limit of what the earth could handle, the problem of China\'s population is also becoming a global concern. Even though the birth rate in China has dropped from 33.43 per thousand in 1970 to 21.06 per thousand in 1990, and the average children has declined from 5.01 per woman in