Infanticide: China's One-Child Rule

Essay by KortEvanCollege, Undergraduate February 2004

download word file, 3 pages 3.7

Downloaded 67 times

China's one-child policy was established in 1979 to limit communist China's population growth. It limits couples to one child. Fines, pressures to abort a pregnancy, and even forced sterilization accompanied second or subsequent pregnancies.

It is not an all-encompassing rule because it has always been restricted to ethnic Han Chinese living in urban areas. Citizens living in rural areas and minorities are not subject to the law. However, the rule has been estimated to have reduced population growth in the country of 1.25 billion by as much as 300 million people over the past twenty years.This rule has caused a disdain for female infants; abortion, neglect, abandonment, and even infanticide have been known to occur to female infants. The result of such family planning has resulted in the disparate ratio of 118 males for every 100 females (105 males are naturally born for every 100 females).

The policy has at times been praised as an effective tool for ensuring that China will be able to continue to support its large population and at times reviled as a tool for human rights abuses and female infanticide.

So in an attempt to combat the widespread poverty and improve the overall quality of life, the one-child policy was gradually adopted.

Chinese families overwhelmingly prefer male children to female children, and, as a result, female infanticide is increasing. In enforcing a one-child policy, the Chinese government has put the Chinese people in a position of having to reject their daughters in their desire to have sons. It has put parents in the position of having to choose between a son, who will support them in old age, or having a daughter who will go to live with her husband's family upon marriage. The results end in sex-selective abortions and female infanticide.

Families are not all to blame, they are put in these circumstances by their own government. Public reports from China indicate that local annual birth quotas still play a prominent part in the policy, upheld by stiff penalties as a well as rewards. Exceptions have recently been made in some municipalities, pregnancy without permission and so ''outside the plan'' may still be punished by heavy fines and dismissal. Officials may also be demoted, fired or fined for failing to uphold the plan and quotas. With pressure to perform, and popular opposition to enforcement, officials continue to resort to violence, torture and ill-treatment including physically coerced abortions and sterilizations. In recently publicized cases, some officials who have engaged in extreme violence have received only suspended sentences.

The Chinese government claims that its one-child policy is voluntary. There are cases in China where brute force is used to perform abortion and sterilization. But more commonly, the Chinese government abides by its own definition of voluntary, which is to say that you can fine the woman; you can lock her up; you can subject her to morning-to-night brainwashing sessions; you can cut off the electricity to her house; you can fire her from her job; you can fire her husband from his job; and you can fire her parents from their jobs. All of this psychological mauling, sleep deprivation, arrest, and grueling mistreatment is inflicted upon these women in order to break their will to resist. But as long as the pregnant women walk the last few steps to the local medical clinic under their own power, then the abortions that follow are said by the government to be "voluntary."

"Economist Point of View"

What resources are involved the this issue? How are they Involved?

The use of ultrasound tests to determine gender are results in deciding to terminate pregnancies of female fetuses. Officials and supporters to the governments one-child policy by issuing fines, inflicting wounds, torture, and even forcing abortions and infanticide. Money is used as a resource both for the officials for upholding the rule and to the victims and families as a type of compensation if death happens to occur after a torture session. Land happens to be the biggest resource for the people. For if you live in a rural area, as compared to an urban area, the rule doesn't apply. They see you as needing more children to help with the farm work and you are not in an over populated area.