China's Population Problem
The Chinese government has taken the enforcement of family planning and birthrate laws to an extreme by violating the civil rights of its citizens, which has had bad effects on the morale of its people (Whyte 161). China's population has grown to such an enormous size that it has become a problem to both the people and government. China, the most populous country in the world, has an estimated population of about one thousand-one hundred-thirty three point six million (Hsu 1). Ninety-four percent of the population thrives in the eastern half of China, which composes about forty-three percent of China's total area (Hsu 1). The eastern half of China contains its most populous cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin. However these cities have a low fertility rate due to recent bandwagons of birth control. The average density in the eastern half of China averages around two-hundred and thirty-six people per square kilometer, whereas the density in the west half averages around ten point six people per square kilometer (Hsu 1). Current enforcement of Chinese laws prevents migration between provinces without proper authorization, as the citizens in the west half of China have a desire to live in a more urban life where jobs can be found easier, and 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 (Hsu 1). Even in ancient times where 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 (Hsu 1). By the time the Qing Dynasty ruled, the fertile people of China had reached a population of three-hundred million (Hsu 1). The birthrate in China did decline in the nineteen-fifties due to campaigning by the government on birth control (Hsu 1). However, after the population decreased the government turned their attention to other matters while the population slowly crept up again. Once again in the nineteen-seventies the population became an issue and it received the governments full attention. In order that the government might resolve this problem, the "Wan Xi Shao" policy, or the "marry later, give longer spacing between children, and have fewer children" policy began to be enforced (Hsu 2). This policy proved to have some effect but it did not stop the fertile people of China, and the population has steadily risen to the current population (Hsu 2).
The recent laws imposed on the people of China include the "One child per family law"(Hsu 2). This law began to be enforced in nineteen-seventy-nine, so that the government might achieve its goal of reducing the rate of natural increase to five per thousand by nineteen-eighty-five, and to zero by the year two-thousand(Hsu 2). The immense population had become straining on the economy and resources (Linden 1). Migration to less populous areas of China became restricted so that the government might be able to control the population more effectively and easily (Hsu 4). Currently, the "one child per family" law still exist, but it has become more flexible, in that it allows a second child but with a longer interval between the first (Hsu 2). Through the health service programs across China, birth control pills, inter uterine devices, condoms, diaphragms , foams, and jellies had been distributed in a matter of time (C.Q.W.R. 1). The government made life easier for those who chose to obey this law by offering incentives such as: paid maternity leave, time off for breast feeding, 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 doctors also provided free abortions at local clinics and hospitals (Ehrlich 205). However the government has encountered resistance in rural areas and this has led to many abuses, and one of the reasons why the government has performed many coerced abortions and sterilizations (C.Q.W.R. 1).
The Chinese government has committed brutal and unjustified acts against offenders of the "one child" policy, and in general the enforcement of these laws has taken the governments undivided attention (Ehrlich 205). Resistance by traditional citizens who mainly live in less populous areas, have received involuntary abortions and sterilizations. China has gone to great lengths to control population, and it has involved reprogramming citizens to have smaller families and to actively use family planning (Ehrlich 205). Family planning and policies limiting the number of children in families has received attention from many countries and issues like this requires the governments full attention and prevents them from focusing on more important affairs like scientific advancements and resolving poverty and homelessness (Linden 2). China's family planning policies and children limiting laws can be considered as reasonable and in the interest of the people of China, but because the government takes the enforcement of these laws to such an extreme shows that they have little consideration for the Chinese citizens. Means of controlling population that infringe upon a human beings civil rights have no place among laws and should merely be taken as a suggestion by the Chinese citizens, and in no way forced upon them.
If China's population received no attention the environment and ecosystem would not be able to with stand the force of such an impact of an immense population (Linden 1). Numerous species of animals would be put in danger due to the destruction of their homes for housing needs, and some even driven to the verge of extinction (Linden 1). Once lush green forests and jungles teaming with life would be swarming with microbes, cockroaches, weeds, and rats, all of which would thrive off of such conditions (Linden 1). The best and most reasonable way to prevent the destruction of the environment and the overuse natural resources involves the reduction of propagation by nearly half (Linden 1).
The Earth has encountered many problems over the years with the environment and the ecosystem, many of which relate proportionally to population size. The consideration of family planning policies and laws remains feasible to most governments, however inappropriate the people targeted might deem them. A governments position on a subject has not always proven to have justice in the favor of its people, but in the long run proves beneficial most of the time. History has shown that previous attempts to control population have failed and recent laws enforced appear to be taken to extremes by the government. However primitive their ways of accomplishing this have shown to be, it must not be overlooked that it has proved effective in reducing China's immense population.
1. "Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report" (C. Q. W. R.), June 5, 1993.
2. Ehrlich, Paul R. The population explosion, Simon and Schauster, New
3. Hsu, Mei-Ling, "Population of China: Large is not beautiful" Focus Spring 1992:
vol. 42, no.1.
4. Linden, Eugene. "Too Many People" Times fall 1992: vol. 140, issue 27, p. 64.
5. Whyte, Martin King, Urban Life in Contemporary China, The University of
Chicago press, Chicago, 1984.