THE BLOG

Reflections On the One-Child Policy (by a sibling-less teenager)

03/11/2014 16:08 GMT | Updated 02/01/2015 10:59 GMT

The People's Republic of China has seen significant economic and political changes since its establishment in 1949. Confronted by issues such as overpopulation, the government of China has ruled in its Constitution that each married couple shall have no more than one child. Despite the notable effects as demonstrated by a decline in population in recent years, the One-Child Policy is often considered unethical and immoral.

Though the country is technically the People's Republic of China, "people" in China seem to lack fundamental rights to give birth freely. The One-Child Policy, inspired by Marxist ideas, was blended with Chinese characteristics. Newborn citizens are viewed as products, or sources of labor that can be controlled without much ethical or moral considerations. In fact, the government's propaganda states that couples all have the duty to marry relatively late, produce one child and devote all attention to the child who is expected to "serve the Motherland" and to continue the good circulation.

The government convincingly persuades the general public to believe that such mandatory actions can positively solve poverty and other issues brought by overpopulation and promote sustainable development of the society as a whole. Taking the morals and ethics into account that it is human nature that parents or potential parents wish to form their own families which size they should possess full liberty in deciding on, on the other hand, one can find contradictions between the purpose of the policy (to benefit the "people" of the country) and the reality that the "people" of China, along with foreign critics, notice substantive flaws to this policy.

With rare exceptions including paying a fine that is unaffordable to a many Chinese people, being in rural upbringings that require much manual labor, and having been divorced with a child before re-marrying, a woman pregnant with her second child would be forced to abort the infant. Specifically, a woman's forced abortion in the province of Shanxi in 2012 has become known on major medias across the globe. It is perhaps a familiar story to many that Feng Jianmei, who was pregnant for seven months, was compelled to complete abortion.

Global attention was grasped after photos of the corpse of the "murdered" infant were shared online. Since the policy gained wider opposition worldwide, Ms. Feng has been frequently chastised by local authorities. Such injustice in regards to morality, which has even been characterized as "a cruelty", should cease to be compulsory in China though further encouraging the policy may as well influence individuals.

Some Chinese citizens, meanwhile, protest against the government's decisions through a different approach. Hong Kong, which has been following the "One Country, Two Systems" policy since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1997, has been repeatedly complaining about the increasing numbers of mainland women who travel to Hong Kong to give birth to their second children, who are granted with the citizenship of Hong Kong by law.

 Hong Kong's loss of ability to focus entirely on its own citizens' welfare is detrimental to both Hong Kong and Chinese mainlanders who wish to conveniently give birth at home without penalty

As a direct result, a significant percentage of Hong Kong's health care centers, facilities and personals both involved, has been contributed to serving mainland females who have decided to give birth in Hong Kong to their second children. This indirect means of protest illustrates the inadequacy of China's moral concerns for its people, but generates more issues in Hong Kong. It also exhausts the limited hospitals and doctors available in the region that less local residents have access to, introducing the necessity to virtually "line up" alongside with the mainlanders. Hong Kong's loss of ability to focus entirely on its own citizens' welfare is detrimental to both Hong Kong and Chinese mainlanders who wish to conveniently give birth at home without penalty.

As observed by the aforementioned cases, the People's Republic of China has partially failed to grant its citizens their full freedom in family planning. Although political and economic policies such as this three-decade old One-Child Policy may bring positive effects to the developments of a certain country, negative consequences that underlie with the moral and ethical concerns of the people should also be considered.