Posts tagged ‘one-child policy’


The Trouble With China’s Reform Plan – Businessweek

The Chinese leadership’s 60-point reform plan announced two days after the close of the Communist Party of China’s third plenum on Nov. 15 went way beyond most expectations. It proposes sweeping changes across broad swathes of the economy, dealing with all of the critical issues and challenges facing China as it reaches for the next stage of development.

The plan’s overarching goals hit all the right reformist notes: “The core issue is to handle the relationship between government and the market”; “In allocating resources the market must play a decisive role”; China “must actively and steadily push forward the breadth and depth of market-oriented reforms,” and “vigorously develop a mixed-ownership economy” (meaning the private sector along with state-owned), says the document, formally called the “Decision on major issues concerning comprehensively deepening reforms.”

The optimists, who have long said the new leadership would meet their lofty expectations and deliver a new vision at the plenum, clearly have been vindicated. The plenum also shows that the new leaders, and Party Secretary Xi Jinping in particular, have decided that major reform is necessary for the continued growth of the Chinese economy. (We already knew that’s where Premier Li Keqiang’s allegiances were.) Good news indeed.

This, however, doesn’t change what has always been true: Defining what specific policies will be adopted to carry out these sweeping reforms, and even more, implementing them, will be extremely difficult. Each of the reforms will have costs for, and adversely affect powerful players in, the Chinese system. The party leaders have set the year 2020 as a target for implementing all of this, presumably in a nod to how tough it will be. And, of course, there’s no guarantee that these reforms won’t be delayed or even abandoned, as the scale of the obstacles ahead becomes more and more apparent.

Very quickly the reforms will come head to head with vested interests that stand to lose huge power. Those include state enterprises, local governments, banks, well-connected princelings, security authorities, and ultimately the party itself.

That is the central paradox of what has been proposed: On the one hand, China can’t continue growing the way it has, and indeed risks social and economic fracture if these reforms aren’t carried out. On the other hand, by pursuing these reforms the party is diluting its control in multiple ways: its privileged role controlling the purse strings, if more and more lending is to go through non-state banks; its leading position guiding the economy’s development, if the private sector starts to move into areas long controlled by state enterprises; and increasingly its sway over the people, as the party loosens the hukou and allows migrants to move more freely where they want, and as it gives farmers more power over the land they occupy. (All with the associated possibility of greater social unrest if huge new numbers of people flow into the cities and feel less inclined to be quiet when they feel the state has mistreated them.)

via The Trouble With China’s Reform Plan – Businessweek.


Forget About Retiring, China’s Economic Planners Say – Businessweek

What if Chinese were required to work an extra five years, or even a decade, before retirement? There are growing calls among officials and academics in China to consider that controversial move as the country’s rapidly aging population puts new stress on its pension program. China must consider “deferred retirement,” said Hu Xiaoyi, a vice minister of human resources and social security, on Oct. 22, speaking to journalists at a seminar in Beijing.

An elderly man carries bottles of water for sale as he makes his way along a business street in Beijing

Right now most of China’s workers retire earlier than those in many other countries. Men, for example, stop working at 60, while many women retire at 50, a precedent set in Mao-era 1950s China. That fact, along with the still strong one-child policy, complicates the task of managing the growing costs associated with an aging population and shrinking workforce.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, in 2012 the number of those of employable age—formally classified as those from 15 to 59 years of age—actually fell, dropping by 3.45 million, to 937.27 million. “Last year, the working-age population dropped for the first time, a signal that China needs to make better use of its human resources,” said Hu, reported the China Daily on Oct. 23. ”China should raise the retirement age as soon as possible, but it must take small steps and make the transitional period long enough for the public to adapt,” said Zheng Bingwen, a pensions expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, reported the China Daily.

via Forget About Retiring, China’s Economic Planners Say – Businessweek.


* China investigates reports of Zhang Yimou’s seven children

Until this article, I knew of fines for more than one child, but had no clue as to the level of such fines.

SCMP: “Chinese authorities have begun investigating reports that Zhang Yimou, one of China’s best-known movie directors, has seven children in violation of strict family planning rules, which could result in a fine of 160 million yuan (HK$202 million), state media said on Thursday.


Online reports have surfaced that Zhang, who dazzled the world in 2008 with his Beijing Olympic ceremonies, “has at least seven children and will face a 160 million yuan fine”, said the website of the People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece.

An unnamed official at the Wuxi Municipal Population and Family Planning Commission said “based on the current policies and regulations, an investigation is currently being carried out”, according to the report.

It is unclear where Zhang’s children were born, the report said, citing a worker at the Jiangsu Province Population and Family Planning Commission.

Both the Wuxi and Jiangsu Population and Family Planning Commission could not be reached for comment.

Zhang, 61, once the bad-boy of Chinese cinema whose movies were sometimes banned at home while popular overseas, has since become a darling of the Communist Party, despite long being a subject of tabloid gossip for alleged trysts with his actresses.

Zhang’s newest project, a film to depict wartime Nanjing under Japanese occupation starred Hollywood actor Christian Bale in a leading role.

There are signs that China may loosen the one-child policy, introduced in the late 1970s to prevent population growth spiraling out of control. The policy has long been opposed by human rights and religious groups but is also now regarded by many experts as outdated and harmful to the economy.

Last December, authorities in southern Guangdong said they were investigating a family for having given birth to octuplets through in-vitro fertilisation, a case that sparked intense public debate about China’s one-child policy and how wealthy families were able to circumvent the rules.

The one-child policy was meant to last only 30 years and there are now numerous exceptions to it. But it still applies to about 63 per cent of the population.”

via China investigates reports of Zhang Yimou’s seven children | South China Morning Post.


* China considers easing family planning rules

Given that it takes years or even decades for population policies to make a difference, China better get on with any changes; and never mind being gradual about it.

Reuters: “China is considering changes to its one-child policy, a former family planning official said, with government advisory bodies drafting proposals in the face of a rapidly ageing society in the world’s most populous nation.

Proposed changes would allow for urban couples to have a second child, even if one of the parents is themselves not an only child, the China Daily cited Zhang Weiqing, the former head of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, as saying on Wednesday.

Under current rules, urban couples are permitted a second child if both parents do not have siblings. Looser restrictions on rural couples means many have more than one child.

Population scholars have cited mounting demographic challenges in their calls for reform of the strict policy, introduced in 1979 to limit births in China, which now has 1.34 billion people.

Zhang said the commission and other population research institutes have submitted policy recommendations to the government.

Zhang, who serves on China’s congressional advisory body, said any changes if adopted would be gradual.

via China considers easing family planning rules | Reuters.


* Chinese couple paid for forced abortion

UPI: “A Chinese couple forced to abort their child at seven months in early June was paid an $11,200 settlement by the local government Wednesday.

Deng Jiyuan said the government agreed to pay $11,200 after already firing two officials, sanctioning five officials and issuing a former apology for forcing Deng’s wife, Feng Jianmei, to have an abortion when she was seven months pregnant, The New York Times reported.

Feng was forced to abort her second child because China limits families to one child per household. Deng could not afford to pay the fine for having a second child, so the government forced Feng to abort her child.

A picture of Feng next to the aborted fetus circulated through the Internet in China, prompting the government to respond.

“We want to return to our home and move on with our life, ” Deng said. “This was a tragedy but life has to continue.””

via Chinese couple paid for forced abortion –

$11,200 may not seem like much for a life. But note that this is the first publicly recorded compensation for such an act. It is the first step towards righting a historic wrong.

See also:


* China – Police Crack Down on Child Trafficking Rings

'It is good to have only one child'

‘It is good to have only one child’ (Photo credit: kattebelletje)

NY Times: “The police have arrested 802 people on suspicion of child trafficking and have rescued 181 children in a major operation spanning 15 provinces, the Ministry of Public Security said Friday. The recent operation broke up two trafficking rings and led to the arrests of the ringleaders, the ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site. China’s strict one-child policy has driven a thriving market in babies, especially boys because of a traditional preference for male heirs.”

via China – Police Crack Down on Child Trafficking Rings –

One of the unintended but direct consequences of the Chinese one-child policy.

See also: 


* China punishes officials over late-term abortion case

BBC News: “A Chinese official has been sacked and others punished over the case of a woman forced to have a late-term abortion, state-run media report.

A relative said the couple were being harassed, with banners apparently calling them traitors in Shaanxi

An investigation showed that officials “used crude means” to persuade Feng Jianmei to agree to the abortion, Xinhua news agency reports.

Ms Feng’s pregnancy was terminated at seven months because she had violated the one-child policy law.

Photos of her with the foetus caused widespread condemnation online.

China’s one-child family planning policy aims to control the country’s population, which now stands at around 1.3bn. Rights groups say the law has meant women being coerced into abortions, which Beijing denies.

Ms Feng’s case has come to symbolise the extreme measures some officials take in order to meet population targets, reports the BBC’s Martin Patience in Beijing.

Officials punished

Officials in China’s north-west province of Shaanxi were punished for having “violated the laws of central and local government on family planning”, Xinhua reports.

The head of the family planning bureau in Zhenping county, Jiang Nenghai, had been sacked. Another family planning official had also been given “administrative demerits”, Xinhua said.

Other officials in connection with the case had also been punished, Xinhua said, without elaborating further.

“According to the investigation, while persuading Feng to receive the abortion, some staff of the township government used crude means to violate her intentions,” Xinhua says.

“There was also no legal basis for the township government’s demand that Feng and her family pay a deposit of 40,000 yuan [$6,300] for a certificate allowing her to have her second child,” it added.

Ms Feng will be given compensation, Xinhua adds, without providing the details.”

via BBC News – China punishes officials over late-term abortion case.

See also: Listening and responding to the people


* Chinese officials apologise to woman in forced abortion

BBC News: “City officials in China have apologised to a woman who was forced to have an abortion and suspended three people responsible, state media reports.

This came after photos showing a foetus and the mother, Feng Jianmei, shocked web users.

She was made to undergo the procedure in Shaanxi province in the seventh month of pregnancy, local officials said after investigating.

Chinese law clearly prohibits abortions beyond six months.

The Ankang city government said it decided to suspend three officials in Zhenping county following initial investigations. It also urged the county government to conduct a thorough review of its family planning operations, said Xinhua news.

China has long denied that its vast army of local family planning officials are using abortion to enforce the country’s one-child policy.

In this case, though, there has been a rare admission that her pregnancy was terminated against her will, and now action will be taken against certain officials.

What has made the difference appears clear.

Minutes after the abortion, a family member posted on the internet a photograph of Feng Jianmei’s aborted foetus, clearly formed at seven months, lying next to her on a hospital bed and the image went viral.

It is a classic illustration of the challenge posed to China’s one party system by the internet.

On Thursday night, the city officials apologised to Ms Feng, 27, and her family, the report said.

She was ”forced to terminate her pregnancy” at a hospital in Zhenping on 2 June, said Xinhua.

Officials in Zhenping county claimed she agreed to the abortion because she was not allowed to have a second child by law. She already has a daughter, born in 2007.

But activists said she was forced into the abortion as she could not pay the fine for having a second child.”

via BBC News – Chinese officials apologise to woman in forced abortion.


* Use of DNA to rescue kidnapped kids in China

China Daily: “The DNA database for missing children set up by the Ministry of Public Security has helped over 2,000 abducted kids return home, a Chinese official said Wednesday.

The ministry has created a DNA database of more than 20,000 blood samples from parents who have lost their children in an effort to help identify abducted children and fight against thecrime, according to Chen Shiqu, head of the ministry’s office for the crackdown on childabductions.

Since 2009, police have uncovered nearly 16,000 cases of women trafficking and 12,000 child abduction cases. Authorities rescued more than 19,000 abducted children and 35,000 women,Chen said. The police will keep on implementing the “zero tolerance” policy to the crime, and beef up efforts to crack down on child trafficking, he said.

Human trafficking is difficult to root out in China, partly as the conventions of “boys carrying o nthe family line” and “sons guaranteeing one’s old age” remain deeply rooted in the countryside.In many rural areas, couples with no offspring still tend to “buy” and adopt abducted children.”

The high incidence of child abduction is a direct consequence of the one-child policy combined with the Chinese (and Indian) view that sons are ‘better’ than daughters. Boys are kidnapped for parents without a son and, sometimes, girls are kidnapped because of the growing awareness that there is a serious sex-ratio disparity that will later cause there to be fewer women than men for marriage purposes!  ;-(

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