Sep. 29th 2015 is a big day for many Chinese couples. On that day, China announced plans to end its controversial计划生育 (jì huà shēnɡ yù) and allows all couples to have 二孩 (èr hái). How much do you know about China’s “one-child policy” and why does it come to an end?
We all know China has the largest population in the world. According to a survey, by the end of 2013 China has a population of 1.37 billion, accounting for about 19% of the world’s population.
China is a very traditional nation with the concept of 多子多福 (duō zǐ duō fú). This concept not only brought more population of China but also screwed up China’s sex ratio as a result of the selective abortion of girls, who are much less favored in traditional Chinese culture. In old China, most people 重男轻女(zhònɡ nán qīnɡ nǚ) and would want to have a son to carry on their family lines, because once a girl is married to her husband, their children would bear the husband’s family name. When couples found that they were going to have a baby girl, they would take abortion and take another chance of giving birth to a son. Some couples just ended up having 6 or more girls, and never a son!
The second boost of China’s population came when Chairman Mao was in his position. He believes that人多力量大 (rén duō lì liànɡ dà), therefore encouraging young couple to have more babies.
Entering 1970s, China’s population easily and rapidly came to 0.8 billion! More population did bring more power, but at the same time brought more social problems: insufficient health care, more competition, low population quality, etc. Having realized the issue, the “one-child policy” was introduced. The Chinese government then took very strict rules that one couple should have only one child. Couples with “extra” kids are fined and the “extra” kids will not be issued a 户口 (hù kǒu).
For a long time after that, having a second child has been a dream to many. However, when time comes to the 21th century, change was gradually made as a result of growing concerns about potential labor shortages and rising numbers of elderly people that would greatly strain the economy in the years ahead. And on Sep. 29th, 2015, the “one-child policy” finally came to an end.
计划生育 jì huà shēnɡ yù – birth control, namely “one-child policy”
二孩 èr hái – two children
多子多福 duō zǐ duō fú – More children, more happiness.
重男轻女 zhònɡ nán qīnɡ nǚ – to prefer boys to girls
人多力量大 rén duō lì liànɡ dà – More people bring more power.
户口 hù kǒu – hu kou, a birth certificate that is a must for one’s education, work, marriage, etc.