Removal of the One- Child Policy in China by Kimberly Dutta

The removal of the one child policy is a legacy of ancient China because it connects to how important children and elders are to Confucianism and how it recreate's balance in society like Ying Yang and Daoism. China also removed the rule out of fear as there weren't enough children to support the aging population. Hence, now there has been a two- child policy instituted. Many people were outraged at how China handled the new policy and the fact that they are now encouraging women to have two children just to balance out the seniors.

It has been heavily debated whether the one- child policy was truly helpful or not. In 1960, before the policy, the average women gave birth 6 times. Currently, that number has been lowered to 1 or 2. But, this may not be the result of the policy. As shown in the graph below, the birth rate actually started decreasing even before the one- child policy was around. One drawback is that since there were fewer children in the past three decades, middle-aged or older population started growing uncontrollably in relation to the newborn young ones. Therefore, there aren't enough children or young adults in the workforce to support the retired people. As a result, the country's economic, political, and industrial forces are suffering.

Many women are happy about the effects of the policy as it has promoted a path to gender equality. Before the rule, if a family had a daughter, they would just try again to have a son. If they succeeded, all the attention would be showered on the boy. Now that there is no boy, daughters are finally receiving the importance they deserve. Studies show that over a quarter of the CEO's in chinese companies are women nowadays, which is a leap forward. Although, a minor drawback, is the concern of overspoiling the only child. Most chinese families are used to having two or three children who share things, but an only child tends to be more selfish, obese, self- centered, and greedy. Having a population filled with children like this creates an unpleasant imbalance. This connects back to Confucianism because the whole religion is based on creating a harmonious society that is at peace and this policy hadn't helped towards that goal.

Another important reason the one- child policy was removed is to lessen the rapid growth of aging population before it became chatostraphic. Instead, the two child policy was put into place, to curb this concern. More children are needed to match the number of the young generation to the number of the old generation. This is crucial because there needs to be people taking care of seniors. The concern for elderly is stemmed from Confucian beliefs. Filial piety is very important in Confucianism and every child must complete their duties by honoring, respecting, and caring for one's parents and elders. In the last few decades what happened was each child would have to care for their whole family, up to four retired people. He/she would either spend all his free time caretaking, or wouldn't pay attention to them at all. This adds to a reason for the two- child policy, so that every family can split the responsibility between two children instead of burdening one.

In ancient China,especially in Confucianism, children were extremely important. We still see a legacy of that in this issue today. In a Confucian society, more children symbolized more power as the family most likely had enough money to take care of them. Also, one of the Five Great relationships is parent-child. Creating a bond between the parent and child is important so the child can start to take care of them as they age. Every relationship should be a two-way mutuality so both the parent and the child have to make an effort. These roles organize society and create peace among the people. So, taking away the one child policy was a reflection of some Confucianism ideas. Every family should be having two kids nowadays to follow the beliefs. One problem that is occurring is since many families are used to having only one child, they are reluctant to have another one; worrying there won't be enough money to support another child. This is an issue because China needs more children so they can start working. In 2014, 3.71 million people fell out of the working age, but there weren't as many who replaced the loss in the workforce. Hopefully, families start having more children to cope with China's fast aging.

In the city of Yinchang, the government is trying to promote births. They are encouraging women to "do their part" and have two children. If this low fertility rate continues it will create hazards and harm to the economy and the happiness of society. Even if everyone has two children, the issues of an aging population and the low workforce will not be completely gone. Two children may just slow down the process, but it will take a number of years to make distinct changes. Many say this is because the removal of the policy came too late, after the damage was done. One important movement that could help families raise two kids is to lower child care costs. Some parents aren't having anymore kids because of financial struggle. Also, some women, because of their age are not able to have more kids. These women are saddenend that the removal of the policy came so late.

Also, the one child policy was removed to balance out society. This is some evidence of Daoism coming into play, specifically, the Ying Yang. The Ying Yang is the balance of earth, and having more children will do exactly that. There should never be imbalance in Daoism, otherwise society will never become one with the Dao. Having only seniors or only children is an imbalance, there should be equal numbers of each so they can work together. Working together creates peaceful results and unexpected bonds. Daoism beliefs are about balancing society and the removal of the one child policy does exactly that.

Some Questions that Came up While Researching:

  • Were there ever exceptions to the one child policy?
  • Who finally made the decision that the policy would be removed?
  • Who first thought of the idea that the policy should be removed?
  • How did China act when the policy was instated?
  • Does the government of China think the one child policy was successful?




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