China’s population growth began to slow in the 1980s when the country implemented a ‘one-couple, one-child’ policy amid fears of overpopulation.
Image Credit source: PTI
By leaving China, India has probably become the most populous country in the world. For the first time since the end of China’s Great Famine in 1961, China’s population is about 850,000 less in 2022, while India is on the verge of becoming the most populous country. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, in 2022 the country’s population will decrease to 1411 million. Due to which concerns have increased about its negative impact on the industrial production of the country. According to UN estimates, India’s population was 1412 million last year and it will overtake China in mid-2023.
China’s population growth began to slow in the 1980s when the country implemented a ‘one-couple, one-child’ policy amid fears of overpopulation. In terms of economic development of the country and improvement in the standard of living of its citizens, population pressure was then seen as a major obstacle. The National Population Control Program in China was conceived in 1979 and was included in the country’s constitution in 1982. Under this policy, it was made mandatory for all couples to have only one child, while the age of marriage was also increased to 18 years. Publicity campaigns were designed to promote the program and ensure compliance, including coercing women to use contraceptives, have abortions, and undergo sterilization.
Couples who violated this policy had to pay a heavy price in their personal life and professional career. Many Chinese women were forced to give birth to their second child in another country, a phenomenon known as ‘birth tourism’. In the style of the Soviet Union, China cleverly designed posters with messages ranging from light-hearted to strong, such as ‘It’s good to have only one child’ and ‘Villagers who want to be rich: Have fewer children, but grow more trees’ Used to go The government used to intimidate and threaten those who did not follow China’s population policy. They were told: ‘If more than one child is born, the whole village will be sterilised’. Overall, the government strictly implemented the population policy and adopted many tricks for this.
What happened to China?
As the burden of raising more than one child eased, Chinese women began to seek economic opportunities to improve their lives and those of their families. He also participated in a large number of economic activities, which are believed to have greatly contributed to China’s development.
The country’s population control policy also enabled families to focus on the education of their children regardless of their gender. Girls started getting higher education. Between 1990 and 1992, the participation of women in higher education increased to 50 per cent. It was only 30 percent before the one-child policy was implemented. Due to the implementation of strict population policy, inequality also arose in the sex ratio. The sex ratio in 1981 was 108:100 which reached 117:100 in the country between 2000 and 2013. This inequality has given rise to social issues. The government was forced to give incentives such as the greed of government jobs to couples having only female children.
relaxation of population policy
Although the ‘one-child’ policy was strictly enforced in urban areas of China, some exceptions were allowed for specific groups of the population, such as ethnic minorities and rural couples. Such people were allowed to have a second child if the first child was a daughter. In 2015, China replaced the ‘one-child’ policy with the ‘two-child’ policy, which was later changed to the ‘three child’ policy. In July 2021, all limits as well as fines for couples producing more children were abolished.
China’s population decline has given rise to widespread rumors that the country is going to grow old before it gets rich. It may also affect the country’s economic performance as the United Nations has estimated that the country’s population may decline to 109 million by 2050. However, Kang Yi, head of China’s National Bureau of Statistics, said that people should not worry about the dwindling population as ‘the total labor supply still exceeds demand’.
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