China's One-Child Policy

Essay by chronicidalJunior High, 7th gradeA+, March 2004

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China has a history of over 5000 years making it the longest continuous civilization. In the fourth century BC, the population of China became the most inhabited region in the world. After the fall of Rome, it stayed the most populated region under on government body for the rest of history (Hooker; Matthews 35). In 200 BC, the population was a few million. By 400 AD, the number of people in the Chinese Empire was 50 million. It leveled at about this number until 1500 when the population gradually began to increase steeper and steeper. The head count was more than half a billion people when the People's Republic of China was formed in 1949. The Communist government asked the public in 1971 to limit their children to two. When that failed to keep the population down as it had reached one billion in 1982, China began a population control law (China's Only Child).

A country that has expanded 900 million people in the past century is simply growing too fast. The government attempted to launch two separate population control campaigns in the early '50s and again in the early '60s. Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong remarked that the large population was a "good thing" and it could continue to grow and multiply "many times" without slowing down national development (Matthews 36). Those birth control drives failed because of Maoist skepticisms and popular resistance. Then in 1979, the Chinese government tries population control again, now under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. Many demographers wanted zero population growth and an eventual reduction in the population to well below one billion where living standards are much higher and adequate (China's Only Child).

Compared to the United States, China's population is now 4.5 times greater but has only a total area slightly greater...