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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Population management - China's One child policy

Text source: The guardian

When the one-child policy started in the 1970s, women in Henan gave birth to an average of 5.8 children in their lifetimes. Their counterparts today have less than 1.7. The change, means 30 million fewer births – equivalent to preventing one every 30 seconds for three decades. And that is just in Henan. Across all of China, the government claims there would be more than 300 million more children without the family planning policy.

This policy was initiated primarily for economic and education reasons, but it is increasingly cited as an environmental blessing. According to some, the population controls have kept sulphur dioxide emissions down by 17.6% and the main source of water pollution by 30.8%. Without it, it is claimed that, the average person in Henan would have a third less land and a quarter less forest. It is also claimed, that it has prevented between 137m and 200m tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

The description of the system as a "one-child policy" is misleading. Most married women in China have the chance to bear two offspring, but the entitlement to breed beyond single figures is determined by a complex set of rules that vary from province to province and are often applied differently from village to village.

There are financial benefits for those that abide by the rules. Read about them here. However, for those who disobey the rules there are extreme consequences. Read about those here

For an overview, watch a recent BBC News report here

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