China’s One-Child Policy

China’s One-Child Policy

Why don’t Chinese women want more babies? It’s not just about money
It is often presumed that government policies are the main factors determining birth patterns in China. This may not be the case anymore. By the end of 2015, China ended the controversial one-child policy, allowing couples to have two children. A baby boom was expected. But it hasn’t materialized and it is very unlikely that it will. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the birth rate in 2019 fell to 1.048, the lowest on record since the founding of the People’s Republic, except in 1961 when millions lost their lives in a widespread famine. After the Chinese Communist Party took power in 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong foolishly encouraged women to produce more children, believing that
How a 3am call and a secret inspire film remembering China’s abandoned children
One Sunday afternoon in February 2017, Chinese film director Yuchao Feng was in his flat in the US state of New Jersey when he received a phone call from his mother that would shock and inspire him. Feng knew something was wrong – not just because it was 3am in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, where his mother, Wang Jingjing, was calling from, but because they rarely spoke. “My parents were not around much when I was growing up in Ningde,” says Feng, recalling the city of three million in Fujian province, in the country’s southeast, known for its tea cultivation. “And we talked even less after I moved to the US to study film in 2011.” Feng’s mother was having a nightmare similar to thos
China should ease pain from one-child policy repercussions
In 1992, I was abandoned as a baby and found in a public place in Hefei, China. For almost two years, I lived in an orphanage and with a foster mother. Then my adoptive mother flew me to Sacramento, California, where I grew up. My existence here in the United States is due to China’s infamous one-child policy, which was imposed for more than three decades before it was eased to a two-child policy in 2015.  I am one of more than 90,000 children adopted from China and raised in the US between 1992 and 2018.  About 40,000 other children went to families in the Netherlands, Spain and Britain. In her devastating poem, One Art, Elizabeth Bishop writes of loss in a way I relate to. She describes mi
Punishment for ‘unfilial’ children sparks debate over elderly care
A Chinese county’s move to punish “unfilial” people has fueled a debate over the state’s role in taking care of China’s rapidly aging population. Xunyang, one of the poorest counties in the northwestern Chinese province of Shaanxi, said last week it would punish people who fail to take good care of their elderly parents. Chinese people are customarily expected to care for their elderly parents. But the county’s plan to punish those who fail to provide financial support to their parents has triggered a backlash online. This is “the government saying it’s done caring for the elderly and the responsibility is now on the offspring,” one commentator wrote on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.  China is
Why Chinese people are outraged by Alabama’s abortion ban
Alabama’s move to ban nearly all abortions in the state has shaken a country divided over women’s right to terminate a pregnancy. But in China, there is no debate. On Twitter-like Weibo, social media users have overwhelmingly slammed the American state’s sweeping abortion ban. “You cannot even have abortions if you are impregnated by rape or incest? Are these people crazy?” said a top comment. The stark contrast underscores how a history of population control policies has helped shape views on abortion in the world’s most populous nation. “In America, abortion might be a debate of human rights, and specifically, women’s rights. But in China, it’s not an issue of rights but an issue of law a
The sperm-collecting machine helping China through hard times
Unlike seeing a dentist, where you lie down helplessly and let a doctor torment you, andrology – the study of male health – is one of the rare medical disciplines that can both involve pleasure and demand effort on the patient’s part. Enter the SW-3701 Sperm Extractor, a machine that takes the tedious labor of masturbation out of the process of collecting semen, for donation and diagnosis alike. Featuring a pink receptacle that mimics a vagina, the machine promises to be a hands-free solution to hospitals in a country that needs quality male healthcare more than ever. Chinese people are having fewer children – whether by choice or not – at a time when China needs babies the most in order to
A 12-year-old girl is caught smuggling blood for sex testing
A 12-year-old girl was caught at a customs checkpoint in southern China smuggling a backpack full of blood samples from pregnant women into Hong Kong, most likely for gender testing, officials said. Prenatal sex testing is banned in China but legal in Hong Kong, and a cross-border business has flourished since China began enforcing a “one-child” policy in the late 1970s and has persisted since the policy’s recent reversal. The girl was caught on February 23 after her heavy-looking bag raised suspicion at the border crossing between the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese city which operates under a different legal framework. “This little kid’s bag was v
Why Chinese men are paying to meet Eastern European women
The women sit on the left, the men on the right. Between them, a host in a suit calls on the men to make the first move. Love is in the air – if the interpreters do their job. The women are either Russian or Ukrainian, the men all Chinese. On a recent Sunday afternoon, they meet in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai in search of love. Without translation, the opposing sexes can’t fully understand each other. But it doesn’t matter. Brought to the same place by sheer destiny – and, for the men, an agent and a payment of $880 – the 16 participants mingle over sappy music and red wine, hoping to find a lifelong partner. As China has become wealthier and more outward-looking, an increasing numbe
Inkstone index: China’s gender imbalance
1.15:1 – the number of boys born for every 1 girl in China. China has the world’s most skewed sex ratio at birth, with about 115 boys born for every 100 girls, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2018, published by the World Economic Forum. China is one of the only three countries with such a low ratio, along with Armenia and Azerbaijan. The country now has about 33 million more men than women, according to official figures. A traditional preference for male descendants and the country’s population control policies have contributed to the gender gap. Chinese doctors are banned from informing parents of the sex of their unborn children. But under the one-child policy, many couples stil
US adoptee returns to China to connect with her roots
At 4pm on August 26 last year, 22-year-old Catherine Su Pohler, whom every­one calls Kati, met her Chinese birth parents and older sister for the first time. Kati’s biological mother, Qian Fenxiang, began to sob when the college student, from Michigan, arrived at the rendezvous: the Broken Bridge, in Hangzhou, in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang. Qian ran up to the young woman, whose face so closely resembles her own, flung her arms around the child she had not seen since giving her up at birth. “I finally get to see you. Mother is so sorry,” she said repeatedly in Mandarin. That heart-rending moment caught the world’s atten­tion. Documentary filmmaker Chang Changfu had been instrume