February 26, 2012

Essay: The One Child Policy - XinLan

In 1949 Mao Zedong’s Communist Party won control of China. During that time they condemned any form of birth control and banned the import of contraceptives. However by 1960 the use of birth controls and abortions were readily accepted and looked upon favorably. When the increasing population problem did not cease Mao implemented the One Child Policy of China. The idea of having only one child was pressured greatly by propaganda “under the slogan “Late, Long, and Few” the voluntary family planning campaign advocated delaying marriage and having fewer children and increasing the number of years between them”, which The National Center for Biotechnology presented as harmful to the body. Most families willingly followed the policy but that was not very effective so by 1980 the One Child Policy became mandatory.

The One Child Policy is a detestable law and should be abolished immediately. The Policy infringes on human rights, civil rights, and women’s rights. Civil rights are defined according the Webster Dictionary as “a class of rights that protect personal freedoms from unwarranted infringement by governments. They include but are not limited to: discrimination against gender, age, sex, religion, race national origin, physical/mental disabilities.” Women’s rights are defined by the same sources as “a class of rights entitled to women and girls of all ages in any society to be equal with men. Clearly this Policy discriminates against women and girls, specifically female infants.  Abolishing this dreadful Policy would be greatly beneficial to all of China. First and foremost, females of all ages would be allowed the greatest unalienable right, the freedom to live! To live without facing any punishment or harm because they are female would be a grand reward. Secondly, by having more females in China would solve many problems that have arisen due to a shortage in childbirths in both social and economic endeavors despite the benefit of the population problem shrinking slowly.

Tracing back to its long and complex history, China had always preferred males over females as males carry on the family line. Many Chinese believe in the teachings of Confucius and follow his advice. One of his most notable quote states, “Among the three most dishonoring acts to parents, not being able to produce an heir is the worst.” This quote strongly portrays the mentality of many thus they feel the need to produce a son therefore; a having daughter is likened to a sin.  Female infants are regarded with so much repulsiveness that drastic measures were taken to ensure  that only one child is born to every family, and that the only child is a healthy male.

Murder is the most horrifying way to ensure a male heir. According to the recent statistics provided in 2009 by the magazine All Girls Allowed, “300,000 government officials are selected to rule over the people so they can keep a close eye on the women.” Mandatory abortion is endorsed explicitly as an official policy instrument in the regulation of 18 out of 22 major provinces in China. Government officials are rewarded with benefits such as increase in pay or having special service available if they meet the abortion or sterilization quota, leading to extortion and coercion.  Additionally there are mandatory pregnancy checks and if a woman fails to submit herself to these tests she would face a large fine amounting to $750 USD. Furthermore, refusing an abortion or sterilization could cost $1,500 USD alone then to add on the social compensation fee of $300 USD. Based on an interview with a ShangXi province couple in 2008 by The Guardian News states, “a typical social compensation fee is 20% of total income per year for seven years for only one female child. A second female child would raise the fee to 40% of total income per year for 14 years.” Families living in the big and crowded cities such as in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong are force to comply with those outrageous demands of birth control. Sometimes a family might be extremely wealthy and can afford to pay their way out of abortion cost and social compensation fees usually by bribing the doctor.  The poor in Gansu and Yunnan are at risk of having their property taken away, which mean their survival is solely dependent on others.
Typically many women are forced against their will to succumb to these painful treatments that violate their bodies thus a direct violation of both civil and human rights. In the GuangXi Autonomous Region of China, the government rulers there in 2007 were forcing pregnant women to get an abortion, literally dragging them by their arms out of their houses; afterwards, the rulers would steep heavy fines on the family for violating the law. As a result, the Medical New Today describes “massive riots in which buildings and cars of the officials were burned and many were killed.” All this birth control has taken a heavy toll on the population of females. Studies show that women who have had induced abortions have an 89% of infertility and women who have be subjected to more than three abortions have a 92% of infertility.

Children that weren’t aborted were often left of adoption. Many were just physically left out in the open on the street bundled up with nothing more than a note saying that the family wished they didn’t have to give up their baby they loved but sadly the family was too poor to provide for her. Many times the baby girls were taken to the nearest orphanage and there they were looked after until someone adopted them. Statistic shows that United States is the number one destination for adopted Chinese children to live in. 80% is female and about 30% are under the age of one. Despite those high statistics, the orphanage has so many children that some spend their entire lives in the orphanage and grow to work caring for other babies. Other sad lifestyles await females as they grow into adulthood; many are kidnapped for prostitution or sold for labor.

Through all the hate against females in the past, now Chinese come to understand that having girls is beneficial to themselves and to the economy.  Having more girls would bring the gender imbalance to a greater stabilization thus lessening the strain on the social aspect too. The only male child of a family has many burdens. He must marry, as is the social and cultural standpoint of the men’s role to benefit society, also his family is to pay for the wedding expenses as contrary to the custom in the United States. Even though men have the intention to marry, the young women have become increasingly picky since there are more than plenty of young suitors. Most women would more readily engage in courtship if the man has an independent well-paying job, a car, and a house.

Furthermore there is a current situation known as the Four/Two/One Problem. Extended family is always supported by the son as is the cultural history of Chinese customs. There are four grandparents, two parents and the young son. It is entirely his responsibility to care for their well-being. Usually by the time the son is in his early to mid-twenties the grandparents do not work and the parents are close to retirement, if not retired already, thus the son has the responsibility to support six people monetarily. The son would have less of a burden if the law had allowed a sibling of either gender it would have made the sons’ life so much simpler and more manageable financially.
An additional benefit in abolishing the Policy would greatly improve the economic status of China. As reported by The Guardian News describes the Policy spends “at least 10% of their entire provincial budget.” The system is extremely expensive and that is because strict enforcement demands a huge and powerful bureaucracy. Some peopled intervened by the newspaper previously mentioned voiced their opinions as, “the One Child Policy is becoming more and more less effective since so many are able to sneak under its suffocating restrictions.” The positive sides of this policy are not as effective as they use to be. Controlling population growth was the sole reason for this idea to be started. During the reign of Mao and later his successor Deng XiaoPeng in 1850-1960’s both urged for a large population because they thought that having more people would create a better workforce, strong military, and benefit the economy even greater. Unfortunately they neglected to calculate the fact China was not able to produce food fast enough for the entire population at that time due to the boom. Controlling population, increasing job opportunities, creating better living conditions, and decreasing pollutions of all sorts were some of the most notable contributions to the Policy but that does not excuse for the murder and suffering brought to the young infant females from 1980 to the present day. Therefore the policy should be abolished because it does more harms more that it does good. People have to die in order for the country to benefit as a whole which is not in the end is not helping the country in the long run.
- XinLan

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