China Population Issues

1 in 5 people in the world is Chinese. The population of China has reached an amazing 1.4 billion; thatís 6 times the amount of people in America. These statistics demonstrate Chinaís major overpopulation problem, which stretches the countryís resources to the limit.

In 1949, when the communists came into power, Chinaís population was around 540 million. By 1982 the population had almost doubled. The communists encouraged couples to have children and greatly improved living standards. Healthcare was improved which decreased baby fatalities.

To solve this issue the Chinese people have to greatly lower the high level of the birth rate. A one-child policy has been introduced to help resolve the problem. The policy rewards people with money and status and is in effect all over China.

The one child policy, although not formally written into law consists of three main points.

o advocating delayed marriage and delayed child bearing
o advocating fewer and healthier births
o advocating one child per couple
People who refuse to obey the one-child policy lose benefits such as free education and lose their model worker status. The government also offers model factory status to factories with 100% of its workers with one child or less. This adds pressure on workers as they do not want to let their factories down.

The Chinese face poverty and hardship if their population continues to rise. However if the one child policy works they will achieve double todayís living standards.

A problem which arises from the one child policy is that there is a very uneven balance of men and women. Men outnumber women because in China people prefer to have boys. The main reason for this is tradition. If the only child is a girl, the familyís name is not carried on. Also when a man gets married it is tradition in the countryside that he and his wife stay with his parents and the wife helps with the labour.

Another factor that affects the population crisis is economic. Chinese people who can afford to live without the state benefits, and do not work in a factory donít feel they need to have one child.

People who support the one child policy point to figures that show that it has reduced China\'s population by 250 million. This relieves some of the obvious stress on China, which already has one fifth of the world\'s population. Also, education is very expensive in China, so the one child policy allows families to concentrate their resources on the single child, thus leading to higher standards of education. Furthermore, women, especially urban women, are now able to concentrate on their careers instead of raising lots of children. This has led to an increased role for women in the workforce.

Those who criticize the policy claim that it has led to extensive human rights violations and sexual discrimination. As Chinese families overwhelmingly prefer male children to female children, female infanticide is increasing. Also, many people criticize the fact that abortions are often forced on women who are visibly pregnant with their second child. These abortions are often very late term. There have been reports of mass sterilizations in the rural areas as well.

While the one-child policy is one way of solving the population crisis it is not popular with many Chinese people or those in the rest of the world because it takes away human rights.