The policy was adopted only as a “temporary measure” to bring down population to sustainable and economically efficient levels but the policy remains to be implemented today and Chinese leaders have announced that the policy will still be adopted for the 2006 to 2010 planning period. According to the Zhang Weiqing, the Minister of the State Commission of Population and Family Planning, the policy is accommodative of the country’s population growth targets and would “continue indefinitely”.
He also denied talks that the policy is becoming more lenient on allowing couples to have a second child (Rosenberg). After 25 years of implementation of the policy and a substantial drop in the level of fertility rate below replacement level, a significant economic growth and increased per capita income, there arise speculations whether China should adopt a new population control policy (Feng, p. 2). The Chinese government is torn between balancing reproductive rights and population growth relative to economic stability.
The policy may no longer be applicable as the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Survey indicates that 35 percent of Chinese women show preferences in having only a single child while 57 percent prefer having two children and only a measly 5. 8 percent prefer having more than two (Hesketh). If this data is accurate, implementing the one child policy has no more ground since the population need not be controlled to have less children. Basing from the survey, preferences of Chinese couples would only maintain the current population and would not go beyond the replacement level.
Abolishing the one child policy would eliminate cases of abuse and other problems associated with it but Chinese leaders seem determined to continue with the policy for economic gain. Reports have somehow surfaced that the Chinese government may cease the implementation of the one-child policy after 2010 which is the end of planning period. State Family Planning Commission spokesman, Chen Shengli, stated that China may just get rid off the one child per couple policy with a well-controlled birth rate of one percent and because it was adopted only as a temporary measure and is effective for only one generation which is equal to 30 years.
He noted that male infants are still preferred in the rural areas because they can do farming and couples in the rural areas are free to have a second child if the first child is a female. Also, couples that belong to ethnic minorities are now covered by the policy. Based on the national average in 2000, Chinese families each have 1. 97 children. Based on the commission’s estimate, 2010 population figures will number to 1. 38 billion (Asian Economic News). Whether or not China will continue with its controversial one child policy, the important thing is that basic human right are not trampled on in the process of controlling population.
The Chinese leaders may have good intentions in the adoption and continued implementation of the policy but it might be time that a similar policy, although less harsh may be adopted. This could be a limit on the number of children based on the combined income of the couple since income is essential in determining the ability of a couple to raise a child. This would prevent the severe economic implications of overpopulation considering the fact that people below the poverty line tend to have more children.
The government may be concerned about its economic performance because how well the economy does, impacts the welfare of the citizens. However, the government should also take notice of not only the preferences, but also the right of the citizens and balance between the economic concerns and human rights.
Population Control Programs. U. S. Library of Congress. Accessed May 8, 2008, from <http://countrystudies. us/china/34. htm> Rosenberg, Matt. 7 October 2007. China’s One Child Policy. Accessed May 8, 2008, from <http://geography. about.com/od/populationgeography/a/onechild. htm> Feng, Wang. March 2005. Can China Afford to Continue Its One-Child Policy?. East West Center. Accessed May 8, 2008, from <www. eastwestcenter. org/fileadmin/stored/pdfs//api077. pdf> Hesketh, Therese, Lu, Li, & Xing, Zhu Wei. 15 September 2005. The Effect of China’s One- Child Family Policy after 25 Years. The New England Journal of Medicine. Accessed May 8, 2008, from <http://content. nejm. org/cgi/content/full/353/11/1171> Asian Economic News. 13 November 2000. China may ease one-child policy after 2010. Accessed May 8, 2008, from