The BBC reported, The first day of 2016 was the end of China’s controversial (and often misunderstood), 40-year-old one-child policy. Although families will still require government-issued birth permits, or face the sanction of a forced abortion, couples in China can now request to have two children.
In 1979, the same year that China established diplomatic relations with the United States, China’s government imposed a one-child policy in an effort to curb population growth.
Why did China do that?
ONE, China has the largest population in the world, a population that has doubled since 1976 and is currently at 1.4 billion people and growing.
TWO, China has 119 million hectares of arable land compared to 156.4 million in India and 152.2 million in the United States. This helps explain why China was once known as the land of famines because China could not grow enough food to feed all of its people even when the population was 150 million in 1650.
For a comparison, even with all that crop land in India, 37.4 million hectares more than China, India Food Banking says, “Three thousand children in India die every day (EVERY DAY) from poor diet related illness.”
It’s obvious that China did not want that for their children or adults. Why allow children to be born so they can live in poverty and starve to death?
THREE, people cause pollution. The more people a developed country has, the more pollution they produce.
What happens when China becomes as developed as the United States? The answer: In 2015 the United States produced 4997.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion. China produced 9040.74, but that country has 4.4 times the people. If the U.S. had that many people, America would be producing 19,990 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
In addition, there were and still are exceptions to China’s One-Child Policy. For instance, the one-child policy does not apply to the hundred million people in China that belong to one of the fifty-six recognized minorities or many of the Han Chinese living in rural China.
Since minorities in China are a small segment of the population, China’s government practices flexibility with the minority birth rate in order to keep minorities an important part of China’s culture.
A few examples: Tibetans may not have the freedom to live a feudal, nomadic, illiterate lifestyle of servitude that came with an average 35-year lifespan they once had under the Dalai Lama, but Tibetans may have as many children as they want.
This applies to all of China’s recognized minorities.
We often hear of the Uighur Muslims since this minority has an Islamic separatist movement in the northwest near Afghanistan where the US is still fighting a war against a similar insurgency, but the Uighurs are a minority in China, so the one-child policy also does not apply to them, and they are not the only Muslims.
The Hui are unique among the fifty-six officially recognized minorities of China in that Islam is their only unifying identity. They do not have a unique language as the other minorities do and often intermarry with Han Chinese.
In fact, many live outside the Hui autonomous region. Since the Hui are considered a minority, the one-child policy also does not apply to them.
The Chinese government said if it weren’t for the one-child policy, there would be about four-hundred million more mouths to feed and provide shelter for.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.
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