Wednesday, August 26, 2009

China's One-Child Policy, Two?

A popular Chinese newspaper, Nanfang Daily, yesterday ran an interview with a renowned demographer, Professor Li Jianmin, about adjustments to China's population control policy. Professor Li suggests that – with an emphasis it is only his academic opinion – if either husband or wife is an only-child, the couple should be allowed to have two children. This should be feasible and still keep to China's strategic plan of maintaining an annual birth rate at 1.8%. Li says some cities have already begun to experiment this idea.

China has been allowing couples a second child if both parents are only-children.

There have also been worries over a descent in overall population quality, thus a suggestion from several years ago to allow anyone with a doctoral degree to have a second child. Prof. Li says this is unreasonable, because the right of birth should be equal between rich and poor, educated and uneducated.

Since its implementation in 1979, the so-called "one-child policy" has effectively slowed population growth in China, the most populous country in the world.


Mike Speek, Northern Illinois University said...

indeed. this is helping for some homework. however, i feel that more should be said about poverty levels in southern China, and its direct relation to 20,000 Rmb. children when the family only makes 3-4000 Rmb. per year. not to mention the fact that the fine must be paid in full immediately after the time of birth, otherwise high fines are in order.
this article, while indeed factual, only tells a very small portion of the story of the One Child Policy and its horrors, physically, mentally, and financially. not to completely bash you. i did feel that the article was honest and to-the-point, although there are obvious reasons why the wealthy are regarded higher than those in poverty.
thanks for the read!

Xujun Eberlein said...

Mike, the drawbacks of the one-child policy are well known. But are you also aware of the horrible consequences of excessively high population density? To be fair, the one-child policy has both pros and cons.

Mitchell Cohen said...

This one-child policy needs to go like an old pair of socks with holes in them. Aside from the violations of human rights and all the draconian measures taken to enforce this policy, which I need not repeat, the straw that broke the camels back was reading about how countless parents lost their ONLY child in the earthquake and had to apply to have another. Aside from the earthquake, I understand China has a compulsive military draft. How many parents will want to send their ONLY child to fight for their country? Not too many I suppose and rightfully so.

There are plenty of other solutions to food shortages (plenty of food goes to waste and gets thrown away all the time) and environmental challenges (recycling is one of many), but this policy is no solution.

wuming said...


"This one-child policy needs to go like an old pair of socks with holes in them" Have you considered that because of this policy, China has a much smaller carbon foot print than it would have been without this policy?

"I understand China has a compulsive military draft." As far as I know, that's not true.

"There are plenty of other solutions to food shortages". This to me sounds like the modern day version of "let them eat cakes". Until somebody shows an effective way of feeding a population 5 times of US with arable landmass 1/5 of US, such statements are empty.

Xujun just praised me for participating in a civilized dialog on her Copenhagen post. So I pre-apologize for my combative tone here.

Daniel said...

They run an amazing, long and deep report today.