Family planning has become a controversial phrase in China, due to the government's One Child Policy, a vast social experiment launched in 1979 to cap population growth and speed up economic development. State media reported recently that more than 24 million men in China are expected to be without spouses by year 2020. This is the latest consequence of a policy that has led to utility-based, sex-specific abortions (when faced with only one choice, boys have greater economic potential for parents) and created a critical gender imbalance.
The report, from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, raises critical questions about what the Chinese nuclear family will look like in 10 years, or whether it will even exist. Along with the impending marriage crisis and already endangered family unit, subsequent problems will likely include increased underage marriage and forced prostitution.
Zhao Baige, vice-minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission of China, maintains that the widespread use of contraceptives (85 percent of reproduction-age Chinese women use them) is a sign of success. "I'm not saying what we have done is 100 percent right, but I'm sure we are going in the right direction and now 1.3 billion people have benefited," she told China Daily.
Her perspective seems short-term. Workers ages 50 to 64 make up over half of China's work force today, a result of the 1950 population swell. "[O]ver the coming generation, China's prospective manpower growth rate is zero," reports the Far Eastern Economic Review. In comparison, think of America's baby-boomer generation, which is slowly leaving the work force and becoming dependent on the next, smaller generation.
Government interference into the family unit is ...1
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