Introduced in 1979, the One-Child Policy is China’s population control program. It has been controversial because its enforcement has utilized coercive measures, including forced abortion and forced sterilization.
The Chinese Communist Party would have the world believe that it has relaxed its One-Child Policy. This is not true. The top population official in China recently announced that the Chinese Communist Party has no plans to change the One-Child Policy for at least another ten years.
The Chinese Communist Party points out that they have created an exception – couples who are both only children can now have two children. Also, certain other exceptions have long existed. In the countryside, couples whose first child is a girl are often allowed to have a second child in the attempt to have a boy. Further, certain ethic minorities are allowed to have more than one child. In addition, the wealthy can circumvent the policy by moving to Hong Kong for the birth of their second child, or by paying exorbitant fines – which can range from one half to ten times their annual disposable income. This option, of course, is not available for the vast majority of people in China, sixty percent of whom still live in the countryside, many in poverty. It can also create resentment among those who cannot afford to buy their way out of the policy. In addition, penalties for non-compliance may include the detaining of family members and the destruction of property, including the demolition of homes.
These exceptions do not constitute improvement. The problem with the one-child policy lies not in the number of children allowed. The problem lies with the coercive enforcement of the birth limit, whatever that limit might be. Whether a couple is allowed to have one child or two children, it is a human rights atrocity to drag a woman out of her home in the middle of the night, screaming and pleading, to forcibly abort her pregnancy, even in the ninth month -- and under certain circumstances, to sterilize her -- because she does not possess a government-issued birth permit.
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