November 09, 2004

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The end of One Child Policy?

The Washington Times is reporting that China is contemplating relaxing or removing the one-child policy, although only a few weeks ago Beijing said there would be no change in the short-term. The policy, while effective in controlling China's population, is regularly avoided through a combination of bribes, beding the rules and helpful doctors. It has also had huge demographic consequences, including an over-representation of males in the population and the emergence of a generation of "Little Emperors", better described as pampered spoilt little brats.

China will eventually have to change its population policy to address its aging population and distorted sex ratio, with consequences for China's attitude to both abortion and homosexuality. And to catch up with the reality on the ground. In the longer term it will help sustain and even increase China's rate of economic growth. It is a policy who's time has come, and who's benefits are now outweighed by its costs: economic, social and personal.

Update: via David comes this look from the perspective of the children themselves, part of The Guardian's new China section (also via Richard). The Globe and Mail set the benchmark for this intensive coverage; I'm betting the Guardian won't match it, but it will be interesting to see them try.

posted by Simon on 11.09.04 at 10:23 AM in the


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There's an interesting report in the Guardian about this which gives a slightly different angle (more from the perspective of the children themselves):,7369,1346535,00.html

posted by: David on 11.09.04 at 11:59 AM [permalink]

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