The Chinese government has taken extreme measures to enforce family planning and birthrate laws, violating the civil rights of its citizens. This has had a negative impact on the morale of the people (Whyte 161). China’s population has grown to an enormous size, causing problems for both the people and the government. As the most populous country in the world, China has an estimated population of 1,133.6 million (Hsu 1). Ninety-four percent of the population lives in the eastern half of China, which makes up about forty-three percent of the country’s total area (Hsu 1). This region includes China’s most populous cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin. However, these cities have a low fertility rate due to recent birth control measures.
The average density in the eastern half of China is around 236 people per square kilometer, while the density in the western half is around 10.6 people per square kilometer (Hsu 1). Current enforcement of Chinese laws prevents migration between provinces without proper authorization. The citizens in the western half of China have a desire to live in a more urban life where jobs can be found easier, while the citizens in the more populous eastern half have a stronger desire to live in the more rural western China (Hsu 4). The Chinese have always had a large population, even in ancient times when the population would never fall below sixty million (Hsu 1).
Later, in the eighteenth century, the population rose exceedingly, and China became the strongest and most economically wealthy country (Hsu 1). By the time the Qing Dynasty ruled, the population of China had reached three hundred million (Hsu 1). The birthrate in China declined in the 1950s due to government campaigns on birth control (Hsu 1). However, after the population decreased, the government turned their attention to other matters, and the population slowly crept up again. In the 1970s, the population became an issue once again, and it received the government’s full attention.
In order for the government to resolve this problem, the Wan XiShao” policy, also known as the “marry later, have longer spacing between children, and have fewer children” policy, was enforced (Hsu 2). Although this policy had some effect, it did not stop the fertile people of China, and the population has steadily risen to its current size (Hsu 2). The recent laws imposed on the people of China include the “One child per family law” (Hsu 2), which began to be enforced in 1979. The government’s goal was to reduce the rate of natural increase to five per thousand by 1985 and to zero by the year 2000 (Hsu 2). The immense population had become a strain on the economy and resources (Linden 1). Migration to less populous areas of China was restricted so that the government could control the population more effectively (Hsu 4).
Currently, the one child per family” law still exists, but it has become more flexible in that it allows a second child with a longer interval between the first (Hsu 2). Through health service programs throughout China, birth control pills, intrauterine devices, condoms, diaphragms, foams, and jellies have been distributed in a timely manner (C. Q. W.).
The government made life easier for those who chose to obey this law by offering incentives such as paid maternity leave, time off for breastfeeding, free child care, free contraceptives, and paid time off for abortions and sterilization (Ehrlich 205). Other rewards for obeying this law and not exceeding the limit included better housing and educational opportunities for their children (Ehrlich 205). Doctors volunteered their services to sterilize couples who had finished childbearing, and provided free abortions at local clinics and hospitals (Ehrlich 205).
However, the government has encountered resistance in rural areas, leading to many abuses. This is one of the reasons why the government has performed many coerced abortions and sterilizations. (C.Q.W.R.)
The Chinese government has committed brutal and unjustified acts against offenders of the one-child” policy. In general, the enforcement of these laws has taken the government’s undivided attention (Ehrlich 205). Resistance by traditional citizens, who mainly live in less populous areas, has resulted in involuntary abortions and sterilizations. China has gone to great lengths to control population, including reprogramming citizens to have smaller families.