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China Suffers From Demographic Crisis, Questioning About One-child Policy


By BOB Goswami
May 19, 2011

CHINA NEWS - Almost three decades back, China's communist government took a draconian measure to curb its population - the brutal and coercive one-child policy, which inevitably fell into the ditch of aghast criticism among Chinese and outsiders alike, though some murmur acknowledged the grudging law, appreciating the initiative to control its exponential growth.

Queerly, new census figures display a different demographic problem, showing the nation in last couple of years has been suffering from low birth rate. Based on the nationwide census, the latest figures released on April 28, 2011 show a steep decline in overall population growth rate, falling down to 0.57% in 2000-10, half the rate of 1.07% in the previous decade. The total fertility rate has also dropped dramatically from 2.1 to 1.4, which actually stabilizing the population.

The problem accelerates by it aging population, which goes up to 13.3% in above 60 age group compared to 2000 10.3%. In the same period under 14 age group declined from 23% to 17%. This trend not only lowers the population rate but also place greater burdens on youth population who need to support their elder family members. Once China was considered a nation with rising population of working-age adults, but present scenario seems topple the image, ending its great "demographic dividend".

Moreover, China's one-child policy has egged on it gender prejudice. As usual in oriental culture, boys are more preferred gender and causes dire gender imbalance. Like China, In India the matter is a serious concern for the government without coercive population controls. Chinese socio-culture society largely affects on the decision of gender base prejudice, as people ensure that their one permissible child must be a baby boy. The policy was introduced in 1978 adopted by the Chinese government to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems. But soon it led to female infanticide, sex selective abortions, abandoned or orphaned children and adoption.

The current census highlighted very little improvement is being made to restrain this trend. The sex ratio in China is not healthy where there were reported 118 boys for every 100 girls in 2010. It is estimated that in about 20-25 years, there will not be enough brides for almost a fifth of today’s boys, destabilizing the demographic coordination.

The census results are likely to augment the debate between despot communist government and vocal academic demographers asking for a respite from the one-child policy.

The government however, denies the policy is extraneous. Citing examples, the government says about 400m births were prevented, which helped the nations to grow.

“The momentum of fast growth in our population has been controlled effectively thanks to the family-planning policy.” Ma Jiantang, head of China’s National Bureau of Statistics said.

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