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One Child Per Family, How is it like in China? One Child Per Family, How is it like in China?
by Lily Jade
2013-01-18 10:03:06
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I can’t remember how many times I’ve been asked about One Child Policy, at the moment people learned I’m from China. Indeed, you wouldn’t understand it if you never lived there. According to all the questions I was asked, I have to say, the world is very confused on this issue.  Well, as an only child in a regular Chinese family, today, I’m going to talk about how is One Child Policy really like.

dsc_0015_2110326412_400It’s such a big question, what is the reason behind the policy? It is known to all, China has the largest population over the world. At the end of 2011, the total population of PRC is 1,347,350,000 persons (released by National Bureau of Statistics of China). Any government would do something get it under control for sustainable development. To find the reasons, we have to get back to the middle of last century, while two great Baby Booms swelled the population in China.

The first one occurred between 1950-1955, known as postwar births. The country finally walked out of the haze of war. Social and political environment was stable, at the meanwhile, economy was growing gradually. People were finally able to settle down and the standard of life was improved. During the period, 94% of women had 3 children and more than 50% of women had 6. With a very large population base, there were 20.88 million of babies born each year.

The second Baby Boom was from 1962 to 1971, which lasted for 10 years long. It happened for so many reasons including economic recovery after the three years of great famine, poor entertainment during the Culture Revolution and so on.  There were 27.952 million of new born each year and the population jumped to 852.29 million by the end of 1971, it was 1.573 times of 1949’s (541.67 million). The second baby boom had affected China in all aspects and its influence lasts until today. 

Productivity couldn't catch up the speed of population growth, therefore, in the 1950's and 1960's, the baby boom hit an antiquated and inadequate school system and medication system. Life standard was much lower than expectation. To provide better life with limited resources, slowing down the population growth is the only way. The country introduced population control policy at the end of 1970’s. It restricts urban couples to only one child, while allowing additional children in several cases. Including twins, ethnic minorities, and remarried couples with one child in family and so on. Since then, the fertility rate fell from 2.63 births per women in 1980, to 1.61 in 2009. It highly reduced the demand of nature resources, maintaining a steady labor rate, and reduced unemployment. That’s one of the reason how China could become the world’s fastest growing major economy.

Well, born in late 1980’s, I am the only one my parents have; it feels awesome in the first 18 years of my life. I never had to worry that mommy and daddy would love someone more than me, I got everything I wanted as long as it’s reasonable, nobody argued or fight with me for sharing anything. My parents provided all the best material benefits as they can. My childhood was one thousand times better than my parents’. I grow up like a princess while they didn't even have enough food on the table (my parents both had 4 and 5 siblings). Actually almost all my generation was like that, we rarely see kids with siblings at my age (expect for minorities and special cases). Being honest, I never thought about how would it be if I've got a brother or sister, a family consists of 3 people is like a formula in my mind. (family = mother + father + 1 child ). Until one day, I came out of the country and see almost everyone around me has siblings, and it feels like I’ve missed something in my life. Of course, some of my friends always complained, you never wish you had a brother or sister, they quarrel over small matters all the time, but no matter how badly they fight, they will get over it. They may not like each other at times, but they love each other unconditionally. Siblings are someone like friends but much more than friends, they are family, they share everything and even the same blood.

Then, I remembered, I never shared my toys with anyone when I was little, I owned them all, and I had nobody to play with neither. My childhood was pretty lonely indeed. Actually, all of us are. That’s how it developed a very serious problem among the young generation, everyone is a little emperor. We became the spoiled generation and we didn't experience the joy and headache of sibling rivalry. Our parents did everything for us to grow up happily, and certain percent of us can’t live on our own even after 20s. Our life is too much depended on our family.

However, spoiled kids can grow up and learn to be mature eventually, it is not unsolvable. But not all the parents are lucky enough to bring up their only child. It is so sad when aged parents lost their only child for any reason. They become so lonely and they are too old to have another one. At some point, all our parents are facing the same situation. Sometimes we travel too far and we barely see them once in few years. If we had any siblings, it would be much easier for both parents and kids.

The good thing is, the first batch of “spoiled generation” has entered their 30s/20s, started from 2011, couples who are both only child themselves could have a second baby. As we can see, the One Child Policy is getting more and more complete for both human needs and society needs. Hopefully, I will have two babies in the near future


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Emanuel Paparella2013-01-18 10:56:36
Indeed Lily, we currently have the same problem in Italy and the West generally. Italian couples are generating one and a half baby per couple; Moslem couples living in Europe (citizens or not) are much more prolific. And this is true for other EU countries. At that rate in one generation or two there will be more Muslims than aboriginal Europeans and what could not be won on the battlefield will be won culturally. But then one may ask Who exactly is the aboriginal European?

What makes the situation schizophrenic is that at the same right wing xenophobic fascist leaning politicians (the Brevick type) then go around sounding the alarm of the Muslim threat to the purity of European civilization.

In Italy, fortunately we have had a previous experience: when the Roman Empire fell the barbarians came into the peninsula all but eradicating Roman genes. Everybody thought that it was the end of civilization as known. In some way it was, but not really. Those same barbarians were Christianized and quite often became the monks (in Ireland for instance) who copied the ancient manuscripts so that Greco-Roman civilization could be preserved and resurrected during the Renaissance. Those "enlightened" individuals who blame the Church for the retrogression and obscurantism don’t know what they are talking about. Christopher Dawson's The Making of Europe could be an eye opener in this regard.

mario2013-01-18 15:53:24
So nice article ...

Alan2013-01-18 18:08:50
Great article

Mike2013-01-18 18:26:15
In my opinion, the one-child policy for some families is unfair.
We can not put limits on it, some parents are looking forward to have more than one child.
Let us consider that the first child is sick, what will happen in this case? Can we put restrictions on the family, that they can not get another one.

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