China allows formerly censored book criticizing the One Child Policy


Too late?

According to All Girls Allowed, China has recently allowed a book criticizing the One Child Policy to be published in mainland China. Formerly, the book could be printed only in Hong Kong.

Yi Fuxian is a doctor who is also an expert on the One Child Policy. His book, A Big Country in an Empty Nest, brings to light the consequences that are a result of China’s means of controlling population.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Yi Fuxian spoke of how he believed the One Child Policy was created on “unfounded or misleading” statistics:

[The Family Planning Commission] said in the early 1980s that China’s population would reach 4 billion by 2050 without population control. It has maintained that the national birth rate has been 1.8 children per family since the 1990s, while my own research backed by census data shows the birth rate declined from 1.5 children to only 1.2 children per family between 1995 and 2000 and has stayed at that level ever since, which is far below a sustainable level of 2.1 children per family. I also did not believe that the country was as deprived of resources as the commission had claimed to justify its drastic family-planning policy.

Fuxian, who now lives in the United States, has three children whom he knows he can rely on later in his life. Most people in China do not have that security, and according to Fuxian, they do not have the necessary savings account or other funds to support themselves when they are old.

Furthermore, it may be too late, says Fuxian, for the effects of the One Child Policy to be reversed and a sustainable population to be achieved:

Even if the family-planning policy were terminated today, it would be too late to solve our rapidly ageing population, the drastic shrinkage of the labour force and the gaping hole in social-security funds that the country has already begun struggling with.

When the 2010 census numbers were released, Fuxian’s predictions were closer to reality than those of the Family Planning Commission. In 2012, plans were started to allow his book to be published in the mainland, but those plans were finalized only this year.

While allowing this source of criticism may permit Chinese people to more freely read about problems associated with the One Child Policy, China is still faced with the problems of dealing with the effects of a policy that created gender imbalances due to the abortion of girls over boys, a birth rate that is below the sustainable level, and an aging population.

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