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  1. 1. Tuesday,September 28, 2010 One-Child Policy in China: No End in Sight By Matthew Robertson Epoch Times StaffCreated:Sep 28, 2010LastUpdated: Sep 28, 2010 Related articles: China > Democracy and Human Rights One-Child Policy Victim: Ke Chengping (R),a woman from Shanghai,was forced to have an abortion and be sterilized as a resultof the Chinese regime's one-child policy.(Lisa Fan/The Epoch Times) As the one-child policyin China approached its 30-year anniversaryon Sept. 25, an internal debate could be seen playing out in the Chinese media:was the policy a good or bad thing for the country? Should or should itnot be rescinded? That was put to rest over the weekend,when population czar Li Bin gave the one-child policythe Chinese Communist Party's stamp ofapproval by thanking the people of China “for their supportofthe national course.” “So we will stick to the family-planning policyin the coming decades,” she said. For Reggie Littlejohn,the announcementthatthe policy would continue came as no surprise. Littlejohn is presidentofthe NGO Women’s Rights WithoutFrontiers and a longtime campaigner againstthe policy, in particular againstthe often coercive and cruel means used to forcefully implementit. Official Distraction “It…confirm[ed]what I've said all along—China will stick with its One Child Policy for the indefinite future," Littlejohn wrote in an email to The Epoch Times. “I mentioned atthe time, and I continue to believe, that the Chinese governmentstrategicallyfloated the rumor that China is loosening up on the policy to coincide with the release ofChen Guangcheng and his continuing house arrest,in order to distractfrom that situation.” Chen Guangcheng is a blind activist who campaigned on behalf ofwomen who were forcefully sterilized and had their children forcefully aborted.After years of harassmenthe was putthrough a kangaroo court and jailed for four years. On Sept. 8 he was released after serving the sentence,and then put under house arrest. Prior to the announcementto continue the policy, Xinhua, the official news agencyof the Chinese CommunistParty (CCP), published a piece thatlavished praise on the one-child policy. It stated that the Central Committee’s letter announcing the policy30 years ago “became a milestone in China’s population control and birth control,” and that the birth control policy “effectively curbed the overly rapid population growth,and in turn promoted economic development,societal progress and improvementofpeople’s livelihood.” The People’s Daily,another state mouthpiece,struck a different tone, arguing that China’s population growth is facing an unprecedentedlycomplexsituation.It said the country’s population remains huge,its demographic profile needs to be improved,and the gender ratio of newborns is highlyunbalanced.
  2. 2. One-Child Policy Crusader:US Congressman Chris Smith holds a press conference in frontof the Capitol building in Washington,DC,criticizing the one-child policy,on September 24,2010.(Lisa Fan/The Epoch Times) Reflecting on Damage Done The 30-year anniversaryof the one-child policywas an opportunity for foreign observers to look back at the legacy it has wroughtover the years. On Sept. 24, outside the Capitol building in Washington,D.C., Congressman Chris Smith led a news conference to that end. Congressman Smith described itas “a cruel and inhumane policy,a human rights violation that is,in scope and seriousness,the worsthuman rights abuse in the world today.” Ke Chengping,a woman from Shanghai and victim of the policy, spoke at the event. During her factory’s annual physical exam, Ke had found that she was pregnant.She had begged the staff at the Birth Control Office to allow her to keep the baby, but instead she was immediatelyhospitalized for a forced abortion. A doctor performed the operation with no anesthetic,and sterilized her via inserting a sterilization device without seeking her permission.Ke said she was deeplytraumatized by the experience. Apart from individual harm,the policy and its coercive implementation have created numerous social problems,critics say. They point to the badly skewed ratio of males and females,the 500 female suicides in China per day, and the rise in sex-trafficking because Chinese males lack female partners. http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/43327/ http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/features/fong09012004.html China's One-Child Policy Comes of Age The Research of Assistant Professor Vanessa Fong Harvard Graduate School of Education September 1, 2004 by Leslie Brokaw The Chinese government initiated an aggressive and experimental policy in 1979, requiring that urban families limit themselves to one child each. This was a huge change: Chinese women averaged six births a piece in 1970, and parents traditionally relied on a large number of offspring to provide an economic security blanket. The purpose of the initiative, says HGSE assistant professorVanessa Fong, was to help the country leapfrog from a Third-World economy into the First-World economy by mimicking First-World fertility and education patterns. Assistant Professor Vanessa Fong
  3. 3. Now, 25 years later, China has its first generation of what Fong calls "singletons," or only-children. These teens and young adults have had both education and the attentions of their parents lavished upon them, and, in urban areas, they have nearly universally been primed for good, white-collar jobs. The challenge, however, is that the economic opportunities in the country have not kept pace. As a result, the weight of expectation—both the expectations of the 20-somethings and the expectations of their parents—is, Fong says, nearly crushing. "In a way, the country wanted to have their cake and eat it, too," Fong says. They wanted children with traditional assumptions about their responsibilities to the family, humility, and self-sacrifice, in addition to modernized ambitions—an unrelenting drive to become the elite. As this generation enters the work force, few are getting what they were promised, Fong explains. "Once they imagined themselves as part of the First World, thinking 'I'm going to go to the best university, sacrifice all my leisure time and friendships, and become really wealthy,' there is no way they are also going to think 'but, if I don't get it, oh well, I'll just be happy and won't complain.'" An anthropologist born in Taiwan and raised in California, Fong began her research in 1997, working with 107 families in the coastal city of Dalian as a tutor. In 1999, she surveyed 2,273 Dalian teens. The results of her study will be published in a forthcoming book, Only Hope: Coming of Age Under China's One-Child Policy. Fong found a generation that has had countless family dollars poured into its education. Students in Dalian, for instance, pay as much as $4,375 for private school. This in a city, Fong says, where most families are on tight budgets. Poor families, she estimates, have annual incomes of about $900, and families identifying themselves as wealthy make just $3,750. Many parents sacrifice their diets for their children’s education, trimming down to two meals a day in order to provide their children with snacks during the schoolday. Add to that books, computers, semi-mandatory night classes, and tutors. Jockeying for the best private tutor, Fong says, is perceived as immensely important to a student’s academic success; tutors and teachers who develop strong track records in helping children pass important entrance exams earn a lifetime network of connections that are unheard of in the U.S. Schoolis mandatory only through junior high, and, in previous generations, only the most talented son—or, in rare cases, daughter—was sent to high schooland college. Today, however, nearly all urban singletons stay in school. The result is nationwide diploma inflation; jobs that a young adult secured only ten years ago with a vocational degree, such as a bank teller, now require four years of college. This is confusing to young adults, says Fong, and it's not any easier on their parents. In just 30 years, people aged 65 or older are projected to make up 22 percent of China’s population. These older adults will have been counting on the fortune from their children's hard-earned schooling to provide for their retirement. With only one child and no national social security plan, this responsibility will likely fall on the shoulders of a generation unable to fulfill it. In addition to borrowing the First World’s most profitable fertility and education patterns, China may find itself inheriting the First World’s inequalities, frustrated aspirations, and social welfare struggles. (© 2004 Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures, Inc.) "In a way, the country wanted to have their cake and eat it, too," Fong says.