"One Child Policy" in China: Responsible or Inhumane?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by JarJar Slayer, Nov 15, 2004.

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  1. JarJar Slayer Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2000
    star 2
    I'm was born in China in 1978. So the one child policy was something that was just always there, like the air. I never considered it in moral terms until coming to live in Australia.

    Most western (especially Caucasian) people I meet consider it a demonstration of lack of human rights. I'm actually getting quite sick of hearing that.

    So I ask: In today's overpopulated world can China or indeed the Earth afford a China without the one Child policy?

    First, China's demand on automobiles and therefore oil is increasing at alarming rates. More people means more need for transportation.

    Second, China's electricity output is already just barely keeping up with demand. One of the big reasons for daming the three gorges. So do we really want more nuclear power plants?

    Third, China's agriculture output is not yet up to western standards. They can only provide 60% of their food requirements and import 40%.

    Currently China has about 1.3 billion people and the one child policy has been in effect for almost 25 years. If it wasn't enacted, can you imagine what the country would be like.

    So my view is: The people who condemn the policy don't know what they're critisizing and are holding onto an ideal without considering the practical implications.

    So I've presented my case. I'm open to listening to the opposing view if they're well argued. But please spare me the "Communist China is evil so everything they do is wrong" arguement.
  2. darth_paul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    I need information before I can give input. What are the consequences of having more than one child?

    -Paul
  3. JarJar Slayer Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2000
    star 2
    If a woman was found to be pregnant and she already has a child, they were treated in two different ways depending on the time.

    Before the 1990's there would be huge social pressure to abort. She may lose her job (as there was virtually no private ownership). The child would be a second class citizen in every sense of the word. No school placings, no health care, no milk money. He or she would basiclly not exist as far as the community is concerned. Because the country paid for everything.

    Now, you pay a fine and pay for everything yourself because so much is privatized. And there's no longer the social pressure.

    Although I don't think that's in the scope of what I'm asking. You're asking if the punishment of a crime is too strong. I'm asking whether it's right to classify the act as a crime. You can't determine if an act is right or wrong by asking what's the punishment.
  4. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    Although I don't think that's in the scope of what I'm asking. You're asking if the punishment of a crime is too strong. I'm asking whether it's right to classify the act as a crime. You can't determine if an act is right or wrong by asking what's the punishment.

    :confused: of course you can. in fact, you have to! whenever you talk about whether or not to make something a crime, you have to ask yourself whether the proposed solution is better or worse than the original problem. it's completely irresponsible to decide to make something a crime without asking how you would enforce it, and what penalties you would levy, and whether or not the end is worth the means. how would you function otherwise?
  5. cal_silverstar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2002
    star 4
    I did a paper on this subject in junior high. Given China's unique situation and rampant overpopulation it seems like the most pragmatic policy to enforce. Do they still value a baby boy over a baby girl?
  6. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    Do they still value a baby boy over a baby girl?

    yeah, which is one of the big problems. the gender imbalance in the younger generation is seriously out of whack, which is really my only objection to the policy. i don't think it's a damning one, and i think the fact that they at least have a population control policy is a positive, that's an issue that needs addressing.
  7. JarJar Slayer Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2000
    star 2
    So for someone who thinks the death penalty is wrong, murder should only be classified as a crime if the death penalty doesn't get delt out?

    Or stealing isn't a crime if the punishment is cutting the thief's hand off?

    That's ridiculous. We're debating whether the need for social responsiblity outweighs a person's right to have as many offspring as they wish. If the answer is yes, then it's wrong for Chinese to have more than one child no matter what the punishment is.
  8. darth_paul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    Well, I'm of mixed minds on the issue, but I can ultimately accept a setup in which, basically, you're paying extra for more children. That's a logial, reasonable approach. I've got reservations, but don't find it a horrifying thing.

    The gender imbalance is certainly an issue that needs attention, though. One section of the 9/11 Commission Report was talking about the environment that bred Islamic extremist terrorism, and described an environment in which there are a lot of young men with intense competition for careers and little likelihood of finding a mate or starting a family. Given some things I've read about the situation in China at the moment, I see the same sort of environment developing. I guess in an environment where the state is strong, it can take role of spirited leader, rallying people and channeling their efforts into a common goal. But I get the impression that the state is perhaps becoming less strong in that way, so I don't know. Food for thought, certainly.

    Edit: By the way, I wouldn't support the implimentation of such a policy here (tempting though it may sound). I'm just not completely appalled by it.

    -Paul
  9. JarJar Slayer Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2000
    star 2
    Chinese are not known for being fanatics. And you guys are blowing this gender imbalance thing way out of proportion. In major cities like Shanghai and Beijing, the ratio of men to women is 105:100.

    And that's the normal ratio because women naturally live longer so more male infants are born naturally.

    Elsewhere in rural China is 115:100 at its worst. It's actually getting better now. Hardly reason for alarm.
  10. Ker-Soth Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2004
    star 3
    The Chinese are sacrificing their children for the sake of the entire species. If nothing else we sould at least so some respect. It would have been very easy for them to reach 3 billion and take over the world to satisfy their needs. They are being pragmatic in a problem that could very well start WWIII. In India they're 700 million and rising. Do you really think they won't push Pakistan around to get what they want?
  11. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    I would have no problem with a one-child policy so long as it was voluntary. If the government feels it has a need to encourage people to limit their families, I'd rather see it offer incentives than make threats. The Western perception is that the government makes threats, and even forces women to have abortions in some cases. (My guess would be that if this is true, it would apply only to "defective" fetuses, which doesn't make it better in my view, but does at least limit the scope of the problem.)

    The "average" U.S. family now has 1.8 children or something like that, and a lot of Western Europe is the same. Once you get people to a certain standard of living--where it's no longer normal to see half your children die off--family size naturally tends to decline. This is especially true in countries that have a large number of educated/professional women. So there's nothing dreadful about having only one child--the scary part is imagining being *forced* to have only one child.

    Just out of curiosity--what's the state of adoption in China? Are kids given up for adoption in any significant numbers, and are families who are already at their "one child" limit allowed to adopt? Are people allowed to adopt children from outside the country, the way Westerners sometimes adopt kids from SE Asia, the Baltic states, S. America, etc.?
  12. JarJar Slayer Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2000
    star 2
    Chinese adopting from outside of the country? Talk about bringing sand to the beach. People in China would generally only adopt if they couldn't have children of their own. Very few cases of humanitarian adoption.

    Anyway, where did this thing about forced abortions come from. There may have been a few isolated cases of overzealous village magistrates in the early eighties. But it's certainly not like it's done regularly.

    BTW, in China it does have to be enforced. When the one child policy was enacted in 79 or 80, the country paid for everything. So why should they give further incentives to limit child birth? I think it's perfectly fair to take priviliges away for having more than one child. Sure it's not fair to the child, but blame the parents not the government.
  13. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    I would say it is both. Overpopulation is a problem in many places in South East Asia.

    However, think about the outcry if the government of the United States adopted such a policy. Would not most of the country rise up in face of such a restriction of our liberties?

  14. JarJar Slayer Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2000
    star 2
    You don't have overpopulation in the U.S. If you did, I guess everyone will have to simply toe the line. Because with liberties and rights come responsibilities. People live in a society and are free to act as they wish as long as it doesn't adversely affect others.

    You have the right to play your stereo. But you don't have the right to play at full blast at 3am on a week night in an apartment block that's not sound proofed.
  15. liberalmaverick Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 3
    I definitely think that population control, in China and in every other country including the USA, is a big deal that should be given plenty of thought in the decades to come. I think a worthwhile investment would be for governments to encourage only one or two children in the name of creating a stable society that will not overconsume.

    I also think China's policy is good insofar as it's not an actual ban on multiple children. It imposes monetary punishment for families with more than one children, but doesn't actually jail those families or take the children away (right?). Though, that's more of a deterrant than an incentive, and I'm not sure how effective it actually is.

    I don't think China's policy is terribly inhumane, and it's only one degree worse than what we have here in the United States. Because of the child tax credit (which I support, just for the record), people are "punished" financially on child-related decisions - except here, the government takes away money if you don't have children. (Of course, I'm merely playing devil's advocate for the conservative point of view, which seems to view taxation as some sort of dreadful statist reprimand.) How is taking money from people who don't have children any better than taking money from people who do?
  16. darth_paul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    libmav - Agreed, you expressed precisely the reasons I think China's policy is an okay thing.

    I'm of mixed minds on the child tax credit. Just out of curiosity, why do you support it?

    I could see a lot of justification for eliminating the child tax credit and instituting a credit for having two or fewer children. That's something I wouldn't even think would need to see that much more population growth; attempting to start curbing population growth now can only be a good thing. And in the future, when population density really becomes a problem in the U.S., we could institute even greater credits specifically for those who have one or no children.

    -Paul
  17. NJOfan215 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2003
    star 5
    What happens if you are pregnant with twins?
  18. Azanulbizar Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2003
    star 1
    You don't have overpopulation in the U.S.

    Anyone who's sat in rush hour traffic would disagree with that statement. :p

    I believe the one-child policy is smart. China's ability to sustain itself is important. Jar Jar Slayer, you might know this better than I do, but didn't Mao at one point encourage population growth as an asset to the country? And that was followed by a famine that killed 30 million people. I believe that is what highlighted the need to control the country's population growth.
  19. liberalmaverick Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 3
    darth_paul: I don't see the child tax credit as an incentive to have children, and I sure as hell hope prospective parents don't see it that way either, because the financial, emotional, and physical costs of rearing children far outweigh any benefits they may obtain for having a few hundred or thousand knocked off their tax payments.

    A reverse tax credit designed to discourage having children is a very interesting idea indeed. Perhaps we could have two child-related tax credits. Or, have the child tax credit only apply to the first two or three children of a family. However, that might meet widespread opposition from smacking of China's policy and I don't think I could even support it. I think that ultimately, since reproduction is such a personal decision, we have to educate people and hope that they keep the idea of "social responsibility" in mind when planning a family (ha ha ha, right?).

    As for the child tax credit itself, I support it because I believe that it's a necessary device to help families (especially poor ones) cope with the costs of raising a family - after all, children are pretty damn expensive. I think the credit is more of a measure of aid than an incentive; the same way that having seat belts installed in an automobile shouldn't encourage people to deliberately crash their cars, having a child tax credit shouldn't encourage couples to haphazardly jump into the difficult burden that is parenthood.
  20. Darth Dane Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2000
    star 4

    FYI: India is over 1 billion people now, closing in on China.

    secondly, one of the reasons the westeners don't get as many children, is partly because, they don't have to do to much to survive plus the fact that entertainment discourages pregnancies.

  21. jiabaoyu Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2000
    star 3
    It's interesting people take note that Westerners do not have as many children, in part b/c of higher standards of living.

    In Chinese cities, the one child policy has been considered a success, and now needs less government encouragement.

    The policy itself has come under fire for it's draconian enforcement in parts of the country, but it has also been lent a hand by tight living conditions and high education costs in the city, as well as general higher living standards overall.

    A cousin of mine calculated how much it would cost to educate three children through college (and yes, Chinese parents almost always pays for college, there are little loans or financial aid and it is considered parents' obligation to pay for children's education through college), and it would be beyond the means of even upper middle class chinese living in your average small city to do so.

    The Chinese countryside is another story however. There, it has received only mixed success. What has been less reported in the sensationalist media is the fact that many local magistrates have bent the law to allow for multiple children. It could be something as pragmatic as allowing for a second child if your first child is a daughter and you send her to school, or it could be something like looking the other way for having a second child.

    In the more obscure parts of China, having a second, or even third child is not uncommon. Where some of my relatives live, they abide by the one child policy pretty rigorously b/c they are relatively well off peasants living close to the cities, but at least one of my uncles have two daughters, b/c he moved to his wife's farm when they got married. Such an unorthodox living arrangement is encouraged by the local officials and they rewarded him accordingly.

    The government had implemented the one child policy in part as a lid against a population explosion for the baby boomers who came of child bearing age. Recently, they've relaxed their policy and have said couples who are both only childs are allowed to have two children. I'm sure an aging population is not far from the policymakers' minds when they did this.

    The real question is....with the increasingly pressure on the environment wrought by a higher standard of living, will the population come down enough to not completely destroy the ecological balance with their demands?
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