China’s One-Child Policy
China is the leading country in population size with a high number of people per square kilometer. The increasing number of the Chinese has been the concern of the government over the years, resulting in various policies aimed at controlling the birth rates. The growth of population exerts pressure on existing resources and diminishes the economic development of countries. The Chinese government introduced the one-child policy to control the population explosion in the country in 1979. Nevertheless, since that year until 2015, when it was eliminated, half the population of the country was allowed to have a second child in case the first one was a girl. However, China’s population growth portends a crisis and threatens to reverse the economic gains in the country. In this regard, the government must review its population policy and revert to the one-child policy to enhance the economic prosperity of her citizens in the future.
Propositions Against the One-Child Policy
The restriction on birth has been regarded as a violation of human rights by civil society organizations across the globe. The implementation of the one-child policy involved forced sterilization and abortions that infringed on the universal rights of free choice. The universal desire of parents to have children is curtailed by the government’s policy to control the population. The forced abortions cause a range of psychological challenges for the parents and violate their rights to exercise free will (Hesketh, Zhou, & Wang, 2015). Opponents of the one-child policy have also proposed that the rise in population is a boon for a country. China stands to experience sustained economic growth with the increasing consumption associated with population growth. One-child policy led to parents giving excessive attention to their children, which resulted in low skill levels. In this regard, China faces a challenge of human resource because of the poor professional development of excessively pampered children under the one-child policy.
The economy thrives on large numbers, and many Chinese increase demand for goods, which leads to economic prosperity. In 2016, for instance, China demonstrated that the country could still maintain high levels of economic growth despite the rise in population when the government put 12.4% of the rural population above the poverty line. Furthermore, between 2013 and 2016, China managed to bring 55.64 million people out of poverty (Emran & Hou, 2013). Besides, large numbers increase labor completion and enable a country to benefit from cheap labor in the economy. Furthermore, increased population is associated with a high level of creativity because of large numbers of professionals available to solve economic and social problems in the society. These observations support the view that higher levels of population growth are not a hindrance to the economic prosperity of China. Consequently, opponents of the onechild policy propose that the government should grant the Chinese the right of choice with regard to the number of children.
The rise of population, however, has been regarded as a factor of developing countries with a diminished economic growth trajectory. The thinking that high population growth leads to economic prosperity does not apply to China that had a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of $ 6,092 compared to $49, 967 in the United States of America based on the statistics of 2012 (Santa Barbara Independent). This data shows that despite leading in population growth, China’s economic status trailed behind the U.S.A., Japan, the European Union, and Russia among the strongest economic powers. Chronologically, China ranked 7th among the countries with high income per capita in the world. In this regard, China must revert to the one-child policy as a measure to improve the economic status of the country.
Propositions for the One-Child Policy
China’s population stands at over 3.3 billion and the lifting of the one-child policy to allow parents who are an only child to sire a second child will potentially add 400 million children to the population. China is already strained by poverty, and the added population will have adverse effects on the social and economic lives of the citizens. Restricting the number of births will increase the quality of life through better employment opportunities. High population in China has led to poor employment opportunities and an exploitation of Chinese workers by manufacturers. Foxconn, a leading electronic manufacturer, for instance, is notorious for hiring student interns to save on labor cost in a move that denies deserving Chinese employment opportunities. In September 2017, for example, Foxconn recruited 3000 interns from the Urban Rail Transit School to work at the firm during the peak season (Lüthje & Butollo, 2017). Many companies exploit the availability of labor in China to pay low wages to the workers.
In 2016, Wal-Mart sought to reduce on employment cost by introducing a “comprehensive working hours” system in 2016, which disadvantaged the Chinese workers. Under the arrangement, Wal-Mart was to schedule the workers based on its own needs and to circumvent the need to pay the workers’ overtime and other benefits (Li & Liu, 2018). The proposal was a violation of the rights of the workers and resulted in workers’ strikes and legal actions. The removal of the one-child policy requirement will increase the population and thus enhance the exploitation of Chinese workers by employers. The government must thus revert back to the one-child policy to minimize the population of China and enhance the value of wage payment and, by extension, improve the quality of life for the citizens.
The Chinese government must re-introduce the one-child policy through a humane approach aimed at reducing the anguish of families. The policy must consider the parents who are the only children and grant them special provision to have a second child. Those parents who have children with physical and mental disabilities should also be considered under the exception to the one child policy. The government must employ the media and civil society organizations to promote the one-child policy and minimize the use of force to implement the one child policy. The state can impose a range of economic penalties to people who violate the one-child policy.
Evidently, China is an emerging economic power whose growth is curtailed by the high population growth. Although the one-child policy has received criticisms from civil society organizations across the world as a violation of the human rights of the Chinese, the country must design strategies to alter the current trends of population growth. China must revert back to the one-child policy to safeguard the economic life of ordinary Chinese. The poor wages paid to Chinese workers by leading manufacturers are an indication of the economic challenges that arise out of a growing population. China risks a reversal of its economic gains because of the rising population. The country must, therefore, implement the one-child policy to safeguard the economic life of her posterity.
Emran, M. S., & Hou, Z. (2013). Access to markets and rural poverty: Evidence from household consumption in China. Review of Economics and Statistics, 95(2), 682-697.
Hesketh, T., Zhou, X., & Wang, Y. (2015). The end of the one-child policy: Lasting implications for China. Jama, 314(24), 2619-2620.
Li, C., & Liu, M. (2018). Overcoming collective action problems facing Chinese workers: Lessons from four protests against Walmart. ILR Review, 0019793918784516.
Lüthje, B., & Butollo, F. (2017). Why the Foxconn model does not die: Production networks and labour relations in the IT industry in South China. Globalizations, 14(2), 216-231.
Santa Barbara Independent. (2018). GDP and population: Understanding gross domestic product. Retrieved from www.independent.com/news/2014/dec/14/gdp-and-population/