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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

One Child Policy eased

China's One child Policy< "Shanghai, China's largest city is set to implement a new population policy beginning Thursday that will make it a bit easier for certain locals to have a second child. "China Daily:

Shanghai, the most densely populated city in China is to pass legislation to ease restrictions on it's China's One Child Policy Chinese law stipulates that a couple may have only one child however there has been some exceptions to these rules.

Couples in areas designated as rural may have a second child if one of the parents is disabled to the point of having his or her "labour capabilities" grossly impaired. There is also the unofficial "one and a half child policy" in rural areas as I reported in a post recently. Under this unofficial policy some rural areas are turning a blind eye to rural couples having a second child if the first is a girl.

Ethnic nationalities too are "exempted" from the one child policy but in certain areas such as Xinjiang there is considerable pressure on people to comply.

The proposed change in Shanghai will allow a husband and wife who both are single children themselves to have a second child.

The "one Child Policy" brought in to curb China's rapid population increase 25 years ago this year is having some unseen side effects.

Partly as a result of the policy China's population is rapidly aging which is almost an unheard of scenario in a developing country's economy.

The policy has also major implications for the rural economy. The one child policy effectively robs farming families of a cheap labour source making marginal farmlands non viable. It is also a major discouragement for the young to enter the rural industry. Instances of sex engineering as a result is rife in rural areas as couples choose abort girl embryos as girls are seen to have less economic worth and unlikely to provide for parents in the their latter years.

Another consequence of the "One Child Policy" is that as parents engineer the sex of their children and provide less in ways of medical treatment for serious ill girl children the male/female ratio is getting seriously out of kilter to the point that it is estimated that by 2050 there will be 20 million surplus males in China. The social, health and crime ramifications of such an imbalance can only be guessed at.