China One Child Policy Essay


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China One Child Policy Essay

One Child Policy Essay: Introduction

What kind of image do you have of China? China has a large land area and the largest population in the world. The Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping introduced a new policy which is the one-child policy, in 1979. This policy means that the couples will have only one child. The goal of the policy was to control the increasing population and improve the death of foods. And then, I had read two articles: China’s One-child Policy and The Empowerment of Urban Daughters, by Vanessa Fong and Planned Births, Unplanned Persons, by Susan Greenhalgh. Those forces on China brought about various changes in Chinese society and at the same time left many challenges on family structure and gender role in China and what is different between rural and urban are.

Body Paragraphs

One child policy had continued for nearly 30 years. Most of the couples were not able to raise second children because of the one-child policy. Greenhalgh stated how “Unplanned children, virtually all second or higher-order offspring, were denied these advantages, and their parents were subject to steep fines, loss of state-sector jobs, expulsion from the party, and many other punitive measures. As illegitimate persons, unplanned children were ineligible for inclusion in the household register, and thus for participation in a wide range of benefits” (Greenhalgh 209). In other words, it states that recently the families are able to have more than two children after the abolishment of the policy. Still, since the regulation of the one-child policy, the family is not allowed to have a second child. Moreover, the government does not support when a family has a second child. Therefore, some children do not take benefits from the government such as family register, schooling, and job due to the effect of the one-child policy. It calls black children (hei haizi).

In some cases, wealthy Chinese families were able to have a second child if they pay a fixed fee to the government, so some of the couples who lived in urban areas had second children. However, it was very expensive. Also, the government stopped supporting a family who had a second child. Most people could not afford to pay the fee; as a result, couples did not register the second birth. Especially, the people who are living in rural areas are “Given the strong son preference in rural China and the gendered nature of contraception, abortion, and postnatal child management practices, there can be no doubt that the vast majority of unplanned are girls.” (Greenhalgh 207). They have explained that the rural people wanted a boy because they were making a living through agriculture. Therefore, when a newborn baby was a girl, the children were often thrown away or used for human trafficking. Urban parts and rural parts had different perspectives of children. The rural parts had son-preference in order absent in still wish to have a son to perpetuate the family.

The Chinese one-child policy abolished due to low industrial production in 2015. However, in Couldion, the one-child policy improved the economy, environment, and population problem in China during this period. It was not allowed to raise second children. The birth planning was based primarily on the modernization planning of the Chinese nation through controlling and transforming both production and reproduction—the "one-child policy" was structured under reform socialism with a Marxist-Maoist ideology. Therefore, with Marx's materialist vision, it was meant to achieve power in industrialization in a short amount of time. Greenhalgh stated that “In that vision, the population was considered part of the economic base, to be planned and manipulated like steel, grain, or any other commodity” (Greenhalgh 208). The "one-child policy," which was part of the birth planning, had brought new challenges and social-economic inequalities along.

The inequalities had shown their impacts on mostly work and education. More specifically, in rural areas, the parents had preferred to have a son rather than a girl. After the one-child policy, the couples' wish of wanting a son was based on the fact that the manpower of a son would be helpful with the workload, rather than a powerless daughter in their own words (Fong 5). On the contrary, in the urban areas, this situation was reversed, which meant that the single daughters of the parents were more prestigious than those who lived in rural areas. Simply this caused by the access to education and work opportunities later in life. The parents had believed that education and work would be the key to achieving happiness in their child's life in those areas. Therefore, the daughters who embodied the gender norms could get an advantage to work on a job (Fong 6).

Furthermore, the one-child policy had enforced a compulsory limitation on childbearing. This policy had led to sex selection through abortions, registration refusal, and even neglect of the daughters to death, especially in rural areas. However, "the one-child policy seldom results in extreme acts of enforcement or resistance in urban areas, in which desire for high fertility is far less intense than in rural areas" (Fong 9). The couples who lived in rural areas, mostly farmers, had high fertility rates even before the birth planning policy. The one-child policy had been difficult to enforce because of the overwhelming desire for sons of the farmers. Moreover, women were blamed for bearing daughters and even forced to have medical and gynecological examinations, fines, contraception, and job loss.

One Child Policy Essay: Conclusion

Consequently, the one-child policy had been structured as a birth plan in order to industrialize and modernize the Chinese government and people. It had enforced the birth limitation to only one child, and those who want to have a second child had to pay a fee to give birth. It was observed that the children who lived in urban areas were more prestigious than those in rural areas since they could have accessed education. Despite the one-child policy, the patriarchal society had brought social-economical and gender inequalities both in urban and rural areas. The parents had preferred to have a son. In rural areas, this inequality gap had been bigger than in urban areas. Women had been blamed for giving birth to a daughter and forced to have many kinds of acts, and even lost their jobs. Their families had rejected the daughters in the rural areas, often adopted or thrown away, and even used for trafficking. The social-economical and gender equalities had been brought along with the one-child policy. As a result of modernization, industrialization, and urbanization, low fertility had become the norm for many developing and developed countries.


Fong, Vanessa L. “China's One-Child Policy and the Empowerment of Urban Daughters.” American Anthropologist, vol. 104, no. 4, 2002, pp. 1098–1109. JSTOR, Accessed 25 Mar. 2021.

Greenhalgh, Susan. “Planned Births, Unplanned Persons:” AnthroSource, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 7 Jan. 2008.

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