Saturday, August 1, 2009

China's one-child policy, price of success, and possibility of change

Is there a new realisation in China that the price it may be paying for successfully implementing the one-child policy over the past three decades? Of course, it is estimated that well over half the population, those in rural areas, and other minorities, were generally granted some relaxation to this policy. Yet, it is becoming quite evident that China is likely to become the first country in the history of mankind, which will become old before it becomes rich. Thanks largely to the one-child policy. Here is an analysis by Nimmi Kurian,
China may be taking its first tentative baby steps to change its landmark one-child policy. In particular, Shanghai has indicated a relaxation in the policy by encouraging couples to have two children. This year marks the 30th year of its implementation: Why could China be having second thoughts? ... ... ...
It is ironic that China is rethinking the policy not because it has failed. It is doing so because it succeeded. In fact its success is China’s biggest problem today. Rigorous implementation has seen China’s average fertility rate falling below replacement levels. As a result, China as a whole may be having around 1.4 to 1.5 births per woman, with Shanghai registering a low of 0.96. Official estimates claim that the policy has prevented more than 400 million births since its inception. But this has brought in its wake several disturbing social and economic challenges. As it braces to wrestle with these, the question is, can China retrofit the demographic architecture of the country?... .... ....
China's one-child success, in the Indian Express. 1 Aug 2009

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