END TO CHILD POL­ICY?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

In a dar­ing chal­lenge to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s more than 40-year-old “one child per fam­ily” pol­icy, a semiof­fi­cial think tank in Bei­jing re­cently urged the gov­ern­ment to cease the un­pop­u­lar forced birth­con­trol pol­icy by 2015.

In­stead, the re­port urges the gov­ern­ment to per­mit ev­ery fam­ily to have two chil­dren and to elim­i­nate all birth lim­its by 2020.

The re­port was pro­duced by the China De­vel­op­ment Re­search Foun­da­tion, which is af­fil­i­ated with the State Coun­cil, China’s func­tional gov­ern­ment body.

The fi­nal re­port has not been re­leased to the pub­lic, but ad­vanced copies were sup­plied to Chi­nese me­dia. The state-run Xin­hua News Agency and other of­fi­cial me­dia out­lets gave the re­port prom­i­nent space in their news ac­counts.

The one-child pol­icy has caused tremen­dous neg­a­tive — and some say un­in­tended — con­se­quences for the party’s blind pur­suit to con­trol the pop­u­la­tion growth.

Mainly be­cause of the pol­icy, count­less forced abor­tions have been per­formed at a great emo­tional and moral cost to mil­lions of Chi­nese fam­i­lies. All-pow­er­ful fam­ily plan­ning of­fi­cials in China are among the most hated in the so­ci­ety.

With a pop­u­la­tion that is in­creas­ingly ag­ing, China’s el­derly care sys­tem faces un­prece­dented crises as young mar­ried cou­ples from one-child fam­i­lies must take care of four older par­ents, adding a tremen­dous burden to the most pro­duc­tive de­mo­graphic por­tion of the na­tion.

Sex dis­crim­i­na­tion has sky­rock­eted in China in the past sev­eral decades in large part be­cause of the pop­u­la­tion con­trol pol­icy. Many fam­i­lies pre­fer sons to daugh­ters.

Pre­na­tal ul­tra­sound sex iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, gen­der-se­lected abor­tion, mas­sive aban­don­ment of in­fant daugh­ters, and the dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of girls in or­phan­ages and adoption agen­cies have been alarm­ing.

Vir­tu­ally all chil­dren adopted over­seas from Chi­nese par­ents are girls. China also pos­sesses the du­bi­ous honor of hav­ing the world’s high­est im­bal­ance of male-to-fe­male sex ra­tio at birth with 117 boys to 100 girls.

In the mil­i­tary, close to 90 per­cent of Chi­nese troops in all ser­vice branches come from one-child fam­i­lies, which is pro­duc­ing a tremen­dous neg­a­tive im­pact on re­cruit­ing, train­ing, morale and ben­e­fits.

The one-child pol­icy is among the lead­ing rea­sons why China suf­fers from a hem­or­rhag­ing brain drain. Many among the ed­u­cated and the fi­nan­cially well-off in China are try­ing their best to leave the coun­try so they can have the free­dom to have more than one child.

The bru­tal en­force­ment of the pol­icy dur­ing four decades of un­re­lent­ing and harsh party de­mands also has se­verely dam­aged China’s in­ter­na­tional stance. It is an­other ma­jor cat­e­gory of rights abuses in China’s abysmally poor hu­man rights record.

The re­port, though not fully avail­able to the Chi­nese pub­lic, gath­ered strong sup­port and cheers among China’s es­ti­mated 500 mil­lion In­ter­net users.

Se­nior Chi­nese lead­ers have made no of­fi­cial com­ment.

Miles Yu can be reached at mmi­leyu@gmail.com.

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