So long! One Child Policy

Ditto,

So long! the infamous One Child Policy!

It’s been over 30 years, it’s about time to put you in history of “the dark section”. Tonight when I was deeply disturbed by some very serious philosophical questions and started to get some type of headache from thinking, I decided to distract myself from the trap and read some updated news (my habit is read Chinese news and English news at the same time and compare their different angles and attitudes in new-reporting). Then I found this:

粵申生兩胎試點 政策鬆動現呼聲

I guess to most readers, I need to interpret what it says in that piece of news (you could porbably try to read the funny version from Google translator). Basically, the title says: “Guangdong Province is now applying for a two children pilot policy, and it’s a sign for the loose of the national One Child Policy in China”. The new policy adjustment in Guangdong, the most populous and economically viable province in China, the richest and the foremost locomotive of Chinese economy, applies for the change to allow couples to have two children, provided that either one of the couple is the only child in his/her family. This news article also pointed out the significantly adverse side-effects of one child policy in China’s demographics (mostly the rapid ageing of the population, the destruction of the nuclear family system and value in China and so on), as well as the currently ultra-low natural population growth rate in China. It is even predicted that there will be a nation-wide lift of the one-child-policy ban somewhere between 2011 and 2015.

This is indeed very good news for China. Little known to the West, the One Child Policy mostly imposes strict one-child ban on the urban population; whereas in the rural area even for Han Chinese the central government usually looses the policy to 2 or 3 kids at maximum. Instead of those obvious and publicly-recognized criticisms, what I see the greatest damage of one child policy is that it largely limits the reproduction of the well-off and well-educated working class in the city, while remain relatively ineffective in deterring the ultra-rich people (who would rather go to Hong Kong or fly to western countries to have more children) and poor, under-educated rural population (who are usually subject to have two or three kids), and barbaric tribal minorities (e.g. Muslim Uighur in Xinjiang Province usually have 5~7 children per couple, as minorities benefited from governmental minority benefit policy, that is, much loose restrictions (virtually no restriction on Uighurs and Tibetans e.g.)) from having as many kids as they want. The concept of this policy is rather twisted in this logic. And it is. As far as I understand when this policy was made 30 years ago those policy-makers did not really take much long-term demographic and social impacts for the future generation into account, as it was simply unable to imagine at that time(in 1970s there’s big population boom in China). Here is the original logic for one child policy: The objectives of the one child policy is to reach the target, that is to limit the Chinese population, in the most effective and efficient way, that is to use regulations and laws to disallow the freedom of people in deciding how many kids they want. This is typical pragmatical philosophy that has etched in every Chinese’s mentality (and only could happen in East Asian countries). Aside from enormous benefits from pragmatism, the biggest side-effect and trade off from pragmatism is that it encourages impetuousness in social behaviors and consequentially the decision-making process. This means that when a complicated social-political decision was made in this logic (that is, engineer’s logic, to use the most efficient way to reach the goal), there is a high level of risk that the decision would be made inconsiderately with large unexpected side-effects emerged in practice, such is the case with the One Child Policy. The original thought of this policy is to last for two generations, it seems now the policy is going be revoked much sooner than they expected 30 years ago.

True that One Child Policy did curb the population boom in China and ease a lot of unnecessary social pressure for China and even the whole humanity, but the damage it has imposed on China is also undeniable. I hate when anti-Chinese people on one side decry the inhumanity of the one child policy ban in China and on the other side openly sneer at Chinese rapid ageing crisis, sexual imbalance, loss of family value from the implementation of the One Child Policy, and predict the final collapse of China based on that. Rationally I pretty much understand their fear towards the rise of China, I don’t hate that. What I hate is the fact that what they are sneering at, the huge social/demographic/economic adverse effects from the practice of the one child policy, is indeed one of the biggest inhibitors against the further sustainable growth of China in the future. I hate that they are right about that point. But right now, it seems like the Chinese has finally got an epiphany to untwist ourselves. As long as we get rid of this ban, I am sure the demographic problems in China is going to be mitigated and neutralized in the medium and long run (in short term China is going to pay back from the adverse inertia of one child policy anyway). So here comes the hope again. I essentially hope the Chinese elite ruling class take this one child policy as a very costly lesson to not make the same mistakes in steering China again. At the end of day, I don’t see the point of following the Western liberalism/leftism self-twisted and self-denial path in China. As much as a pragmatist concern, there’s always ways to make things better and make things right. As for me, now I could finally toss away my prejudice against those fear and resentment against China (though I have been a hard-core critic of contemporary China myself, but merely culture and mentality wise since I am pro-Chinese classicism). Good news for me!

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9 comments

  1. “barbaric tribal minorities (e.g. Muslim Uighur in Xinjiang Province usually have 5~7 children per couple”

    Do you have a cite for this? I was under the impression that the population growth there was roughly 1.25% per year (see this and do the Math: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China). That seems highly inconsistent with a 1.25% annual population growth rate, unless the Uighurs are live for 200 years and are fertile all that time.

    1. The population growth you saw in that wikipedia page includes net migration population change and the new natural population growth (with the population inertia taken into account). The number is misleading. For example, based on 2000 national census the highest fertility rate in China is in Tibet from the Tibetans , whereas you see the population change in Tibet in that webpage is rather insignificant. Here is a link for your information:
      http://repository.tamu.edu/bitstream/handle/1969.1/3892/etd-tamu-2005A-SOCI-Terrell.pdf;jsessionid=CD5B2BE8AB68E63EED51699C003F2DE0?sequence=1

      Regarding Xinjiang, here is some information you should know. What the statistics of population growth doesn’t show is the fact that in Xinjiang, currently 40% of the population is Han Chinese. Uighur constitutes around 45% of the total population in Xinjiang. The Han Chinese in Xinjiang is unquestionable subject to the one child policy, while Uighur is literally not restricted to such regulation (due to government’s minority benefit policy). This in total dilutes the high natural growth rate of Uighur in Xinjiang’s total natural growth rate.

      Here is a very good article about the demographics in Xinjiang that could well answer your doubts:
      http://torguqin.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/chinese-expert-on-xinjiang/

      P.S if you think I am bigoted towards those tribesmen, I have every reason to not like them in China, just like white guys don’t like the NAM.

  2. You wrote: “This is indeed very good news for China.”

    At the risk of not making a substantial comment, I completely agree! The more smart people
    in the world the better.

  3. Good news? You want MORE people in China? you’re nuts.

    BTW found a good side job for you :
    http:// gizmodo.com/5821698/this-is-war-watch-the-libyan-revolution-explode-through-the-lens-of-a-helmet-cam–part-4

  4. More people that China needs. Plus I don’t think the birth rate going to flood once the ban revoked. Just more sustainable than current screwed situation in China

  5. I wish China well, may its ascent be rapid. But I’m very concerned by how most other developed high IQ East Asian nations have birth rates comparable to that of Europe.

    What if China can’t get its birth rate above 2 any more? Its one advantage is lack of immigration, but never underestimate third world people’s fecundity, should China’s leadership ever grow lax or sell out to world capital interests the future of China will be bleak.

    http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2010/03/china-and-interesting-times-part-ii.html

    100 000 Africans, a drop in the great river of 1.5+ billion Chinese. Yet when 400 Jamaicans arrived as labourers in Britain in 1948 they where no less a mere drop in the great Anglo-Celtic population.

    That scared me. I don’t think Subsaharan Africans on their own ever go through the demographic transition. The only places with below or near replacement Black fertility are mixed societies like South Africa, Cuba and the US. The Middle East seems also to be a target of immigration.

    Could something like this be the future of Western Eurasia?

    Black country sucks > Blacks immigrate to non sucky country > country becomes sucky > Black fertility eventually rises

    1. It is true that East Asian countries do tend to have a birth rate comparable to that of Europe these days. In fact, if you check the the list of birth rate by country/region. You will find that Hong Kong and Macau are the lowest in the world, The birth rate in Japan and Korea are well below major Western countries as well. There is simply too much social pressure to deter young couple from having kids in a collective society like those ones.

      I think China would soon follow. But considering that there are still a massive portion of the population that are impoverished in the rural inland, the overall birth rate in China might be not as low as those countries, provided that One Child Policy completely revoked.

      About the Africans in China, most of them concentrate in one city in Southern China. As many could speculate differently, I don’t think they are ever going to root in China. My reason for this prediction is simple: Like other sinosphere modern countries, people do not like immigrants, that is people associated with alien culture. Multi-culturalism never exists among Confucian doctrines and deemed as a wicked poison that could threaten the stability of a society. Simply look at the case of Japan, their stringent control for immigration even from Korea and China. Also, I could tell you an example that could prove that Chinese would never allow those aliens to bring their drumming and dancing things to China: since 60s there were waves of Vietnamese refugees flooding to Hong Kong. Instead of letting them assimilate and live in Hong Kong, the government allocated all those refugees in concentrated areas with barbed fences till all of them either left for western countries as asylum seekers or forced back to Vietnam. Very very few of them could actually get the freedom to live in Hong Kong afterwards.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnamese_people_in_Hong_Kong
      Culturally Chinese won’t allow the blacks to settle in China. Last time this happened was when Mongols invaded China and brought the Muslims, which caused a lot of troubles to China for hundreds of years. I don’t think it’s even possible to grant those blacks to live forever in Guangzhou for generations.

      P.S You could also see illegal blacks in Hong Kong too. But they mainly stays in certain places and once caught by police the government wouldn’t hesitate to send them back.

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