The one child policy was a regulation that restricted parents to only having one child. This policy limited the families of China for over three decades (Wee, 1). Additionally, mothers were forced to be fitted with IUDs, a little, t-shaped piece of plastic inserted into the woman's body to provide birth control. From 1980 to 2014, 324 million Chinese women were fitted with IUDs, something that was potentially hazardous to their health (Wee, 1). Based on 120,000 cases from 2000 to 2005, the defect rate of IUDS had accumulated to 23.31 percent (Liu, 1). 23.31 percent of women who were forced to receive IUDs, were harmed by them. Harmed by something they couldn’t even control! And women knew this and often refused to be fitted. But with that came a price. They risked their children having no access to public schools or health insurance (Wee, 1). Civil servants and state employees lost their jobs is they refused (Wee, 1). This has ties to the ancient legacy of Legalism. If you don’t follow the laws, as wrong as the may seem, you are punished. So not only were women being restricted on the size of their families, they were being forced to be injected with an IUD, something that could harm them (and did harm many). Defying meant risking your future along with your children. Messed up, right?
Although it took more than 3 decades to realize it, the government did something about it. They loosened the reigns, now the policy is no more than 2 children. And women are no longer forced to have IUDs. In fact, the government is providing free removal (Wee, 1). But is it too late? For many it is, emotionally and physically. Physically, many are having a really difficult time removing them, meaning surgery is often involved (Wee, 1). Also physically, many are now in their late 30s, 40s or older, so they are no longer capable of having children. Emotionally, many women believe their privacy is being invaded by the government yet again and are becoming more and more furious. "It's the equivalent of someone injuring you and then mending the wound,” Zhang Xintian, who watched her mother go into surgery two years ago to remove the IUD she had worn for more than two decades (Wee, 1).
Not only has the removal been emotionally exhausting for women now, it has long termly affected China’s future parents. The future of China’s population has been getting too low and now many women don’t want to have more children. Talk about not having yin yang, China needs to find some balance and some advice from Taoists! The first reason is because of the divide between parent responsibilities; they would be pushed to do all the work (America, 1). This is blamed on sexism in the past in general, but also on the fact that families haven’t had the opportunity to fix it. For decades they were controlled by a one child policy. Now that it’s gone, parents are confused and don’t know how to work with more than one. Yet, the main reason many women don’t want to have more children is because of Confucianism. Countries with ties to Confucianism such as China have created a trend or legacy to have really low birth rates. This is linked to how the religion has created expectations and women’s positions in society; this ancient legacy is the main cause the present is having these major population problems! It is still unclear whether or not the new two child policy is encouraging parents to have more children to fix the dent in the long term population. Fortunately, there were 17.86 million births in 2016, the highest annual number since 2000, however this doesn’t nearly reach the number predicted nor the number that is needed for the first year to fix the gap (America, 1). Legalism and Confucianism have been around for centuries, but as they flourish through China, they are and have been affecting the present and future of Chinese families and China’s future population.
After researching and writing about this topic, I have developed many questions. Some being “will the population of China be fixed and if so how? Does Confucianism and Legalism affect other issues as dramatically as it does this one?