Skip to comments.Shanghai Starts Backpedaling One-Child Policy in Face of Demographic Implosion
Posted on 07/25/2009 6:18:33 AM PDT by NYer
SHANGHAI, July 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Although 2009 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the one-child policy, China's second largest city is not celebrating. Far from it. The Times Online reports that far from fearing overpopulation, the city of Shanghai has pleaded with married couples to help them stave off the looming crisis of demographic implosion by having a second child.
Shanghai has announced pro-procreation policy, that contrasts sharply with the rest of the nation's strict enforcement of the "one couple, one child" policy that has inflicted forced abortions, involuntary sterilizations, and catastrophic fines inflicted on the local population to limit the growth of its 1.3 billion persons. Yet the fewer numbers are exactly what has Shanghai worried, because the city is faced with not enough young men and women to sustain its aging population.
"We advocate eligible couples to have two kids, because it can help to reduce the proportion of the aging people and alleviate a workforce shortage in the future," Xie Linli, director of the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission, told the Times.
Zhang Meixin, a spokesman for the commission, also told the Times that more than three million people over the age of 60 constitute the population of Shanghai. That makes this age cohort 21.6 percent of Shanghai's population, which as Zhang stated, "That is already near the average figure of developed countries and is still rising quickly."
If the rate of demographic decline continues, they project that by 2020, the number of elderly will make up 34 percent of the city's population. The Times reports that a similar phenomenon is happening throughout all of China, and by 2015 the working-age population will begin to decline, and begin to increase the pressure on the social system to support the aging group of pensioners.
According to the Times, the US-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies released statistics earlier in April that presaged the Chinese fears. The group predicted that by 2050 China will have just 1.6 working-age adults to support every person aged 60 and above, a steep decline from the 7.7 adults per pensioner back in 1975, just a few years before China instituted the one-child policy. By 2050, over 438 million Chinese will be over the age of 60.
Zhang emphasized to the Times, "The current average number of children born to a woman over her lifetime is lower than one. If all couples have children according to the policy, it would definitely help relieve pressure in the long term."
Yet according to the Times, more than 7300 couples from one-child households are already eligible to have two children, but many of them decide instead to have either one or none at all. The Times analysis seems to indicate that the one-child policy may have also effected a material-driven youth culture that views children as necessary to carry on the family name, but otherwise an obstacle to having a good time found in frequenting clubs, restaurants, shopping malls, and traveling. If true, the phenomenon would exhibit characteristics similar to the attitude of "youth culture" in Europe, which also faces the specter of catastrophic demographic decline. Many Europeans delay having a child well into their late-thirties or forties, fearful that the responsibilities of parenthood would put constraints on a life of leisure.
In one chat-room debate observed by the Times, participants expressed fear that very soon children will no knowledge of "uncles" or "aunts," and that the cost of living and education have made having children a prohibitive cost for even couples who want children. Another online poster remarked upon the stark difference between the China of Chairman Mao, who appealed for Chinese to have large families of five or six children with China's situation today saying, "In the future we may not be willing even to have one and it will be like the West with a falling population. Terrible!"
However Population Research Institute, a non-profit educational organization focused on exposing human-rights abuses committed in the name of population-control, says that while small moves toward relaxing the policy are beneficial, they fear that official action has come as too little and too late, "because their demography has been so altered by the policy."
PRI Media Director Colin Mason told LifeSiteNews.com that he and PRI President Stephen Mosher - Mosher was responsible for documenting and exposing the ruthless enforcement of the one-child policy for the first time to the West - both had recently visited China and found that most of the people with whom they came into contact expressed a desire to have more children, which was stifled by the fines and punishments of the one-child policy.
"There is no consensus among the Chinese people that [the one-child policy] has been good for their nation," said Mason. He also pointed out that the government also faces an enormous burden with its aging pensioners, because the one-child policy severely damaged a tradition in Chinese society where children acted as a social security net or parents in their old age. In many ways, that responsibility has shifted to the government, which now carries with it severe economic consequences.
"Our message is pretty consistent: we hold that overpopulation has never been a problem and never will be," Mason told LSN. "Western nations should take the cue from China, now that even China is begrudgingly accepting the fact that it is not overpopulated.
Mason cautioned, "These nations that think that they are overpopulated should look at themselves and their own policies, and make sure that they are promoting bigger families and basically greater population growth."
See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
New On-the-Ground Investigations Confirm UNFPA Complicity in China's Coercive Population Policy
It's simple math, really.
Prediction: China will enforce a policy of mandatory euthanasia for those who reach age 60. It's simple math, really ;-)
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Yet the fewer numbers are exactly what has Shanghai worried, because the city is faced with not enough young men and women to sustain its aging population.
Serves ‘em right.
Roe v. Wade leads to more senior citizens leads to bad ratio of pensioners to workers (Social Security). This is in the United States.
Either we get rid of Roe v. Wade, or get rid of Social Security... or both.
A regular riot of an idea right!?
So, there will be more sex in China now! I thought they were trying to REPRESS that!
They fell for the Malthusian snake oil and are paying for it.
Ha! The problem is worse than that. The Chinese, faced with only being allowed one child, often aborted or murdered after birth millions of girls. The Chinese adult population before long will be severely skewed with literally millions of men for whom there are no women available.
India starts to look pretty tempting about then. Regional war becomes a near certainty. Epidemic rape and theft of women within China is another strong possibility.
It isn’t nice to fool with Mother Nature.
"The group predicted that by 2050 China will have just 1.6 working-age adults to support every person aged 60 and above, a steep decline from the 7.7 adults per pensioner back in 1975, just a few years before China instituted the one-child policy."
The Chinese, however, have forgotten about another plausible and viable option that achieves BOTH population control and maintains a healthy demographic balance, meaning a good ratio of youths to the elderly.
They can merely ban getting old unless a person gets a permit and can prove they are a contributing member of society. No more sitting on porches and dandling grandchildren on your knee, or puttering around in your garden. If you don't get your permit, you shuffle off to the "senior center," say goodbye to your loved ones, and find yourself turned into fertilizer -- which, by the way, is a productive use of your end-of-life status.
Frankly, this is hardly more inhumane than forced abortions and the infanticide that the Chinese bureaucrats sometime resort to, to ensure the one-child policy is enforced.
See? Problem solved. Easy in a godless, totalitarian society.
This is my concern as well. It’s one thing to have a reduced population, it’s much wordse if the ratio of boys to girls become so badly skewed. That daughters have become so devaled, will only lead to great unrest, and eventually to war...War for women. One would think that the Chinese family, would realise that their daughters are becoming a much a more valuable commodity...Don’t jump down my throat! That’s the way *they* think of them.
Communist China knows it all, they don’t need the advice of the illegal underground Roman Catholic Church now, do they?
One child per couple leads to more senior citizens leads to bad ratio of pensioners to workers. This is in China.
Roe v. Wade leads to more senior citizens leads to bad ratio of pensioners to workers (Social Security). This is in the United States.
Be fruitful and multiply. But in San Francisco, it's "be fruity and don't multiply".
When life isn't respected, anything evil is acceptable. Then becomes law.
Perfect example of a useless bureaucrat trying to turn theory into fact without taking human nature into account.
“millions of men for whom there are no women available.”
Well, looks Super to me. Does anyone know the prison riot rate among men due to lack of sex?
Other than that, maybe the millions of bitter career women will go there and find husbands.
There is a demographic standard for nations, when they reach a certain level of prosperity, which varies between nations, suddenly the birthrate drops to just sustainable or less (below avg. 2.3 children per family.) This just happened a few years ago in Mexico.
In the case of China, it is so large that the rules might be bent. That is, the wealth level in the coastal cities has reached the plateau, but inland hasn’t.
Importantly, while it is very difficult to raise this birthrate, it is easy for government and society to intentionally or otherwise, lower it even further. That is, at this point, when additional pressures of many kinds are put on potential parents, it will convince more of them to either have just one child, or none at all.
High levels of pollution, also common in China, also affect the downward trend. And a serious decrease happens in bad economic times.
Thirty years of the one-child policy has caused an irrevocable cultural change. It can’t be turned on-and-off on a dime.
China’s in for a demographic collapse.
I’ve got it! Issue medals to mothers who have extra children!
What? Der Fuehrer already tried it?
Ban abortion and birth control! Force mothers to carry to term and establish state-run orphanages!
What? Ceaucescu already tried it?
This one child policy was a mistake from the start, as most of us here know. But at least after one generation (late 90's) the demographic math should have made the obvious obvious to them. I guess better late than never.
Serves em right.
I don't know if I agree. Because the people who suffer will be the same who have suffered under the regime, and those who imposed the totalitarian commie rules will continue unscathed, supported into old age, having the number of children that suits them.
And Shanghai should be worried. The young people there live like in the west, a thriving middle class, even less likely to run back to the country and support aging relatives.
Same math for the new "Health" Care System for America. The only question is which Marxist will implement the new plan first.
Actually, the US looks tempting, as we imported many of those baby girls in our Adoption mills.
“By 2050, over 438 million Chinese will be over the age of 60.”
Not if they exercise Obama-style health care, where seniors are not provided costly services that would be provided to the young, “productive” members of society.
As we age, one thing or another afflicts us. With proper medical care, most of those afflictions can be overcome and the senior’s life extended. Without proper care, the illness exacerbates and takes the person’s life sooner. Presto! Problem solved.
All China (or the USA) has to do it cut back services to seniors, and it will lessen the burden of the productive young.
There IS at least a purported history in China of abandoning old people who become a burden on their families. The oldster would be brought out to the distant forest and just left there to fend for him/herself. Whether those stories are historically accurate, I don’t know, but do remember hearing them some time ago.
And then they'll find that this new policy's effects will show up down the road and their yank the thermostat back the other way, increasing the problematic oscillations, "youth culture" notwithstanding.
LSN gets a lot wrong, but at least they are pointing out that this is a local anomaly, and it's obvious that this "youth culture" and prosperity are tied to lower birth rates.
Of course, it means things collapse in 50 years, but the ChiCom leadership would be dead, and they didn't care what happened after that. Their computation was that they would reap the benefits, but not be around for when the costs appeared.
They’re welcome to scour the streets of Philly for...Mexicans.
They need only look at Russia to grasp China's future. Russia decimated its population with abortion. It has become an unstoppable form of birth control. Russia is now scrambling to undo the damage, encouraging people to have children. Alas, it's too little, too late. Like Europe, the family structure has collapsed and it will take centuries to build it up again. I recall communist years when children were taken away from their parents and raised by the government. Now the Russian gov't is encouraging the Orthodox Churches to open up schools.
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Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment
So, it appears, Shanghai will need to allow a greater migration of people within China (and maybe even outside of China) to immigrate to Shanghai. Migration of young people, that is.
They need to life the restriction in areas where people want to have mulitiple children and then allow them to migrate to Shanghai. And even from surrounding countries such as India, Thailand, N. Korea, Pakistan, Vietnam, etc.