China set to relax one child policy

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China set to relax one child policy

  1. 1. China set to relax one-child policyUpdated September 13, 2010 11:33:39After 30 years China is reportedly considering relaxing its one child policy.From next year, five provinces will consider allowing couples have a second child,providing at least one parent is a only child themself. The one child policy wasintroduced to limit population growth in Communist China, but it has applied mainly toHan Chinese in urban areas. People from rural communities or ethnic minorities areexempt. Nonetheless, this move is a significant one in a country where abortion andinfanticide is reportedly widespread among families who want their only child to be ason.Presenter: Sen LamSpeaker: Arthur Waldron, Lauder Professor of International Studies at the University ofPennsylvaniaListen:Windows MediaLAM: At the moment, were relying on reports that the one child policy might be relaxed.Whats your reading of the situation? How likely are the authorities to relax Chinas onechild policy?WALDRON: Well, I think it would be a very very popular measure. I think there is a lot ofpressure to do it, but on the other hand, the population control bureaucracy is verydeeply entrenched. But I am inclined to think that by the time you have this level ofrumour and leakage, that there has got to be something to this or that there is probablysomething to it.LAM: As you say, the Family Planning bureaucracy is deeply entrenched, but do theywield much political influence in Beijing?WALDRON: Well, according to one of the reports that I have been reading, how youperform on family planning is the single most important criterium for a rural official,whether you meet your quotas, or the number of births dont exceed.LAM: If the reports are accurate, why do you think the Mandarins and indeed, thepolitical leadership in Beijing, why do you think they are considering reversing the policynow at this point in time?WALDRON: Well first, I think it is deeply unpopular. Second, I think that in the last 30years Chinese people of all levels, and the society has become accustomed to morepersonal autonomy and less interference from the government in personal decisions.And theyre therefore are more resentful and more sensible of the fact that this could bechanged than they might have been say 20 or 30 years ago. And third, for the wealthy,of whom there is a substantial number in China. This is a dead letter. You can just pay
  2. 2. the fine and have your baby or as is increasingly common, fly to Hong Kong, have yourbaby there or fly to the United States and have your baby there and get a citizenship forthe baby into the bargain. So this is a policy whose time has passed.LAM: And it also seems to me a policy that favours the rich and not the poor?WALDRON: Well, its deeply oppressive of the poor and it doesnt touch the rich,because they can simply use their money to bypass it.LAM: Indeed, what about this so-called gender imbalance? Do Han Chinese still broadlyfavour sons over daughters?WALDRON: Oh absolutely. Now that we have the ability to determine the sex of anunborn baby, the abortion rates for unborn girls are extraordinary. Its not just the casein China, but I think the figures that is given is 120 males to 100 females in the new birthcohort. And thats a very, very serious imbalance.LAM: And do you find that surprising, given that the Chinese Communist Party hasalways given equal weightage and indeed, promoted equal rights, at least on paperbetween men and women?WALDRON: Well, theres a contradiction there, but I think the real problem is the socialengineering approach, because even if they ... er.... a lot of this is being driven by alabour shortage. For awhile there, there were lots and lots of young people who couldwork and now in a few years there are not going to be anymore, there is going to be nomore increase in the number of workers in China and by 2025, the labour force is goingto be shrinking and this is a policy that was social engineered by a handful of people atthe top in 1980 or so. And it is not clear to me that they really understood about agedistributions and demographic pyramids and so forth and the problems you have whenyou have a vast age population and you have only a relatively small number of youngerproductive people to support them.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/201009/s3009973.htm

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