The Chinese one-child policy
For a long time since 1979, each married couple in China was only allowed to have one child. A law that interferes with people’s private lives. A big problem is now that there are many more men than women in China and that many men can no longer find a wife. The education of the only child is a priority for many parents. What is otherwise distributed among several children only benefits one child due to the law. Many children grow up without siblings, and the pressure to be successful rests on just one child. Children do not learn to argue and to reconcile. This is especially true of families in big cities.
Incidentally, wealthy Chinese were allowed to have a second child while the law was in full effect. That then cost a fine. The prices varied and often depended on the officials who collected the fine. But some parents paid the equivalent of 25,000 euros for a second child. Many officials put the money in their own pockets.
However, if the first child is a girl, farmers in the countryside are allowed to have two children. But even two children are few in the country. In China, it is actually customary for children to look after their parents when they are old. The more children a married couple has, the better it is, because they will look after the parents as they get older. The one-child policy makes it difficult for people in rural areas to make a living in old age. In the meantime, this one-child policy has been relaxed, so families can now have two children again. It then becomes problematic with the third child, because then fines and penalties await again, for example the loss of work.
What if not?
Statistics claim that more than 400 million more people would be living in China today if it hadn’t been for the one-child policy. It is not easy to judge the one-child policy, there is great disagreement about it.
What are the consequences of this policy?
Many people, if they could only have one child, wanted to determine the gender. And so almost all families wanted a son. Boys count more than girls in China. In China, for example, more girls die before and after giving birth. That is why there are now more boys and men and they can no longer find a partner. In China, doctors are no longer allowed to tell parents what gender the child is. There is now a marriage market in Shanghai where men – and their parents too – look for a suitable partner every weekend. Here profiles of marriage candidates are posted. This one-child policy will continue to have an effect, even if the provisions have changed in the meantime.
How do you get information in China?
According to aceinland.com, over 150 million Chinese people in the country cannot read at all. But of course there are also many books, newspapers, magazines and the Internet in China. So you could watch the Harry Potter films so popular with us in China. But the government controls everything, including the internet. Despite tight controls, the Chinese are learning more about the Internet than the government believes they should know. But only eight out of 100 Chinese have their own computer, so people like to go to Internet cafés that are open all night. But here, too, it is strictly controlled that the young people do not receive any information from abroad. There is no Facebook in China, here the social network is called “webo” and is closely monitored.
Poor civil rights
What is allowed or not allowed in China is only determined by the Communist Party in China. Anyone who critically questions Chinese politics must expect consequences and penalties. Political opponents are arrested, placed under house arrest, or worse happens to them. Newspapers and programs criticizing the government are banned. Many do not even learn to question the system in this way.
There are 250 million migrant workers in China and the numbers are increasing. The children of these workers often live with their grandparents in the country, while the parents move from town to town from work to work. This is how children grow up without parents. The parents have to leave to survive at all. Then they often send a large part of the money to the children. The children often do not even know their parents. With luck, they will grow up with their grandparents, provided they are still alive.
Many of these workers live in “factory towns”. Here all of life is determined by work. There is little free time and workers have to work overtime to increase their very low wages. They mainly work in supplier factories for foreign companies. Often these are computer companies, the results of which we can then find here in great PCs, cell phones, game consoles or tablets. These products are often expensive. But the Chinese workers get very little wages for their work. The companies reap the profits. The problem is that all of this is very difficult to control. Often there is also a lack of will.