As a country’s population grows, the demand for resources such as food, water, and housing increases. However, every country has limited resources to provide for its population. When China was faced with a booming population, the Communist Party knew that they had to preserve the country’s resources. As a solution, the One Child Policy was implemented in 1979 to stabilize China’s population.
Despite this attempt for stability, the One Child Policy negatively affected the country because it created a sex imbalance, harmed the peoples’ mental health, caused abandonment of Chinese traditional values, and reated a larger age gap among the population. Although numerous voluntary policies were implemented to limit population growth before the One Child Policy, China’s government believed that an official obligatory policy was necessary for many reasons.
The One Child Policy was originally introduced in 1979 in order to improve living standards, to reform China’s economy (Hesketh), to fix under-employment issues, and to increase China’s food supply (Kaplan, page 30). The People’s Republic of China was in chaos at the time of the implementation of the policy. Mao Zedong, China’s former eader, believed that “the more people there are, the stronger we are” (Hayoun). Mao’s death left China unorganized and with no central authority until Deng Xiaoping came to power. Deng disagreed with Mao and believed that population control would boost China’s economy (Hayoun).
When the One Child Policy was first established, China’s government claimed that it would be a temporary measure. Deng’s mission was for China to become a voluntary small-family culture (Hesketh), which has been a longtime goal of China’s. In fact, before the One Child Policy, China’s government instituted the voluntary “Late, Long, Few” Policy in 1970, which called for later childbearing, a longer timespan between children, and fewer children (Hesketh).
While this policy did not curb population growth as much as Deng wished, the “Late, Long, Few” Policy did halve China’s fertility rate from 5. to 2. 9 (Hesketh). Although the most dramatic decrease in China’s fertility rate occurred before the One Child Policy was imposed, Deng insisted on implementing an obligatory policy. One of the many consequences of the One Child Policy was the pressure to bear sons, which caused China’s large gender imbalance. This harmed China in multiple ways. Traditionally, China is a male-dominant society. “A woman was to be subordinate to her father in youth, her husband in maturity, and her son in old age” (“Chinese Patriarchy”).
Because of this customary preference for males, China has previously struggled with sex imbalance. In the 1930-1940s, this issue was caused by infanticide of girls (Hesketh). Today, the One Child Policy burdens couples with the pressure to have a son as their only child, causing the misery of wives. Not only did husbands abuse and threaten to divorce wives that did not bear them sons, but usbands’ parents looked down upon wives that only gave birth to females. A woman said to her son’s wife who had no sons: “I have only one son who married a bitch like you.
You have extinguished our family. Get out of here and get yourself killed; otherwise we will never turn around” (Ebrey, page 481). Because couples longed for sons, abortion of females was popular. If wives only bore daughters, many couples would give their daughters for adoption, abandon them (Ebrey, page 480), or not officially register them so that they could try for a son (Hesketh). Additionally, many couples would less aggressively treat sick aughters and let them die so the couple could have another child (Hesketh).
The pressure to have sons during the One Child Policy resulted in the torment of wives and the suffering of daughters. Because of the uneven sex ratio, modern China struggles with various disturbing issues. One hundred and twenty boys are born for every one hundred girls in China (Hayoun). In 2010, China’s population was 53. 7 percent male and 46. 3 percent female (“Women and Men in China,” page 9). Approximately thirty million more men than women will reach adulthood by 2020 (Brooks). As a consequence, these men will struggle to find wife.
The scarcity of females has already caused women to be kidnapped or trafficked for marriage and more women to become commercial sex workers, causing a potential increase in sexually transmitted diseases (Hesketh). Many men will never have the opportunity to reproduce and have a family. Due to this trouble, men have become more violent and have fought with innocent people over minor issues, triggering many assaults and homicides. Economist Lena Edlund predicts that each one percent increase in the sex ratio will cause a six percent increase in violence and property crime rates (Brooks).
This effects China poorly because it creates chaos that was not present before the execution of the One Child Policy. Another negative outcome of the One Child Policy is the harmful impact on Chinese children and men’s personalities and mental healths. The policy caused many children to be raised without siblings, and these only children tend to be “less competitive, more risk averse, less conscientious, less trustworthy, and more pessimistic” (Nordqvist). Also, because parents only had to support one child, they gave more attention to their only child than parents with multiple children gave to ach child.
Chinese parents with one child invested additional money, time, and effort into parenting. This caused only children under the One Child Policy to be spoiled and overprivileged. In addition, due to the shortage of women caused by China’s sex imbalance, men are unable to marry and have a family. This has caused a rise in various mental health problems among Chinese men (Hesketh).
The One Child Policy also caused the Chinese people to stray from their traditional values regarding family. In Confucian thought, [Chinese tradition is based on] family values, familial elationships, ancestor worship, and filial piety” (Deng). Family is an honorable aspect and top priority in Chinese society. Despite this rich culture, China’s government has prevented their people to be members of large families. By limiting the number of children per family, ironically, policy and culture contradict each other. Additionally, the One Child Policy has forced abortion (Hesketh), which is traditionally resented (Kaplan, page 29) because of the expense and the belief that it is unethical.
This is another contradiction between Chinese policy and faith, and nstead of family being held in top priority, Chinese families have been destroyed. Additionally, because fewer babies were born, the One Child Policy created an imbalance in China’s old and young, which negatively impacted the population in many ways. In 1980, forty percent of China’s population was under the age of fifteen (Kaplan, page 169). In 2015, 17. 6 percent of China’s population was under the age of fifteen, which was lower than the percentage of China’s population older than the age of sixty (“China: Population Distribution By Age”).
This led to an increase n the ratio between children and parents, creating conflict because children are customarily responsible for the care of their elders. When the families only has one child, only children are burdened with taking care of their elders without the support of siblings. In addition, according to the United Nations, the Chinese population is aging and isn’t being replenished. Because of this, by 2050, China’s workforce will have reduced by an estimated 17. 3 percent (Hayoun). Due to the age imbalance, China will have a shortage workers. This may cause a labor- driven decline in the economy.