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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 5:10pm
CommentInsight & Opinion

One-child policy needs big changes, and soon

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 February, 2013, 6:34am

Beijing's top family planning official recently dismissed speculation that the one-child policy will be scrapped this year. Wang Xia, minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, says it will be around "for a long time". This does not inspire much confidence in the goal of the 12th five-year plan to revise the policy by 2015.

Wang says the government will continue to gradually ease restrictions. A case for a more decisive relaxation is to be found in the ageing of the mainland's population, partly attributable to the one-child rule. Reports of labour shortages in coastal industrial cities are a harbinger. Factual evidence has turned up in figures highlighted by the head of the National Bureau of Statistics, Ma Jiantang . They show the size of the working population aged from 15 to 59 fell last year by 3.45 million, to 937 million. He said this was the first such decline in recent history, and called for consideration of "appropriate and scientific" changes to the family planning restrictions.

Policy planners remain mindful that population control has been instrumental in the country's rapid economic rise. But calls for greater relaxation of this are growing - and compelling. The ageing of the generation that built the economic miracle has brought forward the policy's use-by date. More babies, not fewer, are needed now to avoid the economic and social consequences of serious population imbalance. Just as compelling are the arguments against a premature return to bigger families before Beijing marshals the socio-economic resources needed to cope with the extra demand for education, welfare, health care and so on.

The government already allows second children for ethnic minorities, rural couples whose first-born is a girl and couples where both partners are only children, while the rich and powerful simply flout the one-child restriction. Allowing all couples to have two children is unlikely to result in a massive surge in the birth rate, given the cost of child-raising.

A gradual relaxation no longer serves the country's best interests. Population policy should be revamped sooner rather than later, amid public disquiet over cruel enforcement of the one-child rule and disrespect for the law. The current policy is responsible for rampant sex determination and abortion, gross distortion of the birth ratio in favour of males and an ageing society. It is also an open invitation to human-rights and religious groups to attack China's reputation.


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This article is now closed to comments

Only time will tell. Population control started it and population control might ease or end it. ****emekadavid-solvingit.blogspot.com/2013/01/is-chinas-one-child-policy-ocp-going-to.html. Article was insightful.
Let human resources (human assets) grow.
Let all these policies be put inside a cage and let hundred flowers blossom. The more the policies, for those who can afford to find ways to get around which is the root of corruption. Freeing of the mind is the only way for most to return to personal morality, integrity and basic human values which have been lost after years of deprivation - material and spiritual.
I support China’s continuation on population control. China has been a victim of overpopulation both caused by tradition for old age support by offspring or Mao’s misguided duplication of other tradition for economic growth with population growth. Hong Kong and Singapore still upholding such traditions and exhaustively raising population by local inducement or immigration. As a government population policy it can’t be more of a one-track thinking. Why population increase can assure prosperity now and security liken in the past for our future when means of livelihood have been so different from the tradition? Why wouldn’t the management of one’s wealth and working longer time all couldn’t safeguard one’s old age security? For all those who refuse to take these factors yet to propose population growth are both lacking confidence in themselves or underestimating the intelligence of the future generation. Or may be just being selfish just looking for financial gain even it is not quite needed? Yes, letting the future population begets just more population problems. It is not to say China must use one child policy to control its population growth not concerning the adverse consequences of a single-child upbringing. Once a society is not burdened with traditional value what children and population is, new ways of population control should be devised and most of all in achieving human dignity as what human should deserve.


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