In China, a daring few challenge one-child limit

Discussion in 'China' started by Galaxy, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    In China, a daring few challenge one-child limit


    24th Dec,2011

    HUJI, China (AP) – Seven months pregnant, Wu Weiping sneaked out early in the morning carrying a shoulder bag with some clothes, her laptop and a knife.

    "It's good for me I wasn't caught, but it's lucky for them too," said Wu, 35, who feared that family planning officials were going to drag her to the hospital for a forced abortion. "I was going to fight to the death if they found me."

    With her escape, Wu joined an increasingly defiant community of parents in China who have risked their jobs, savings and physical safety to have a forbidden second child.

    Though their numbers are small, they represent changing ideas about individual rights. While violators in the past tended to be rural families who skirted the birth limits in relative obscurity, many today are urbanites like Wu who frame their defiance in overtly political terms, arguing that the government has no right to dictate how many children they have.

    Using Internet chat rooms and blogs, a few have begun airing their demands for a more liberal family planning policy and are hoping others will follow their lead. Several have gotten their stories into the tightly controlled media, an indication that their perspectives have resonance with the public.

    After finding out his wife was expecting a second child, Liu Lianwen set up an online discussion group called "Free Birth" to swap information about the one-child policy and how to get around it. In less than six months, it has attracted nearly 200 members.

    "We are idealists," said the 37-year-old engineer from central China, whose daughter was born Oct. 18. "We want to change the attitudes of people around us by changing ourselves."

    Freed of the social controls imposed during the doctrinaire era of communist rule, Chinese today are free to choose where they live and work and whom they marry. But when it comes to having kids, the state says the majority must stop at one. Hefty fines for violators and rising economic pressures have helped compel most to abide by the limit. Many provinces claim near perfect compliance.

    It's impossible to know how many children have been born in violation of the one-child policy, but Zhai Zhenwu, director of Renmin University's School of Sociology and Population in Beijing, estimates that less than one percent of the 16 million babies born each year are "out of plan."

    Liu thinks his fellow citizens have been brainwashed. "They all feel it's glorious to have a small family," he said. "Thirty years of family planning propaganda have changed the way the majority of Chinese think about having children."

    The reluctance to procreate is also an issue of growing concern for demographers, who worry that the policy combined with a rising cost of living has brought the fertility rate down too sharply and too fast. Though still the world's largest nation with 1.3 billion people, China's population growth has slowed considerably.

    "The worry for China is not population growth — it's rapid population aging and young people not wanting to have children," said Wang Feng, director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy, a joint U.S.-China academic research center in Beijing.

    Wang sees a looming disaster as the baby boom generation of the 1960s heads into retirement and old age. China's labor force, sharply reduced by the one-child policy, will struggle to support them.

    He argues that the government should allow everyone at least two children. He thinks many Chinese would still stop at one because of concerns about being able to afford to raise more than that.

    Penalties for violators are harsh. Those caught must pay a "social compensation fee," which can be four to nine times a family's annual income, depending on the province and the whim of the local family planning bureau. Parents with government jobs can also lose their posts or get demoted, and their "out of plan" children are denied education and health benefits.

    Those without government posts have less to worry about. If they can afford the steep fee and don't mind losing benefits, there's little to stop them from having another child. There's popular anger over this favoring of the wealthy but not much that ordinary people can do about it, since the policy is set behind closed doors by the communist leadership in Beijing.

    In 2007, officials in coastal Zhejiang province threatened to start naming and shaming well-off families who had extra kids, but the campaign never got off the ground, possibly because it threatened to tarnish the reputations of too many well-connected people.

    Hardest hit by the rules are urban middle class parents with Communist Party posts, teaching positions or jobs at state-run industries.

    Li Yongan was ordered to pay $37,500 after his son was born in 2007 as he already had a 13-year-old daughter. After refusing to pay the fee, Li was denied a household registration permit for his son, forcing him to pay three times more for kindergarten.

    He was also barred from his job teaching physics at a state-run university in Beijing. "I never regret my second child, but I have been living with depression and anger for years," said Li, who struggles to make ends meet as a freelance chess teacher.

    Of course, there are surreptitious, though not foolproof, ways to evade punishment: paying a bribe or falsifying documents so that, for instance, a second child is registered as the twin of an older sibling. Or, sometimes second babies are registered to childless relatives or rural families that are allowed to have a second child but haven't done so.

    Wu, the woman who made the early morning escape, said she never intended to flout the one-child rule. She had resorted to fertility treatments to conceive her first child — a daughter nicknamed Le Le, or Happy — so she was stunned when a doctor told her she was expecting again in August, 2008.

    The news triggered a monthlong "cold war" with her husband, Wu said. Silent dinners, cold shoulders. She wanted to keep the baby. He didn't. After a few weeks, he came around, she explained with a satisfied smile.

    But family planning officials insisted on an abortion. The principal at her school also pressured her to end the pregnancy.

    Desperate, she went online for answers — and was led astray.

    At her home on the outskirts of Zhuji, a textile hub a few hours south of Shanghai, the energetic former high school teacher recounted how she divorced her husband, then married her cousin the next day, all in an attempt to evade the rules.

    The soap-opera-like subterfuge was meant to take advantage of a loophole that allows divorced parents to have a second child if their new spouse is a first-time parent.

    Wu had helped raise her cousin, who is 25 and 10 years younger than her, and when she asked if he would marry her to help save the baby, he agreed.

    The divorce, on Sept. 27, 2008 involved signing a document and posing for a photo. It was over in just a few minutes. The next day's marriage was similarly swift.

    "I remember I was very happy that day," Wu said holding the marriage certificate with a glued-on snapshot of the cousins. "Because I thought I'd figured out a way to save my baby."

    But her problem wasn't over. When the newlyweds applied for a birth permit, officials informed them conception had to take place after marriage. They were told to abort the baby, then try again. Wu was back to square one.

    A popular option that was out of reach for Wu economically is to have the baby elsewhere, where the limits don't apply. Some better-off Chinese go to Hong Kong, where private agencies charge mainland mothers tens of thousands of dollars for transport, lodging, and medical costs.

    The number giving birth in Hong Kong reached 40,000 last year, prompting the territory to cap the number of beds in public hospitals they are allowed from 2012. However, parents of kids born abroad face the bureaucratic hurdles of foreigners, having to pay premiums for school and other services.

    In the end, Wu also fled, but not as far as Hong Kong. Three months from her due date, she kissed her baby daughter goodbye, telling her she was going on vacation, and hopped an early morning train to nearby Hangzhou. There she switched to another train bound for Shanghai, hoping the roundabout route would throw off anyone trying to tail her.

    In Shanghai, Wu used a friend's ID to rent a one-room apartment with shared bathroom and kitchen. It was tiny and not cheap for her, $107, but it was across from a hospital that allowed her to register without a government-issued birth permission slip and it had an Internet connection.

    Wu had never used email, so her husband — the real one — set up a password-protected online journal that he titled "yixiaobb," or 'one tiny baby.' She posted to the journal up to nine times a day, describing where she was living without ever revealing her exact location. She prefaced every entry with a capital M for mother, and added a number to mark how many messages she wrote in a day. Using the same journal, her husband wrote to her, coding his messages with an F.

    It felt like an invisible tether linking Wu to her husband. He didn't know where she was, but knew she was OK. Shortly before her due date, she asked him to come to Shanghai, and he was present for the birth of their son.

    More than two years later, she and her former husband, the father to both her children, have yet to remarry — hoping it will legally shield him from any future punishment.

    The marriage with her cousin was easily dissolved after they discovered it was never valid, because marriages between first cousins is illegal in China.

    Wu was fired from her job as a public school teacher because of the baby and her ex-husband, who is also a teacher, was demoted to a freelance position at his school. Though told she has been assessed a $18,575 social compensation fee, Wu has refused to pay.

    Enforcers of the family planning limits showed up at their house in July, and again in November, threatening legal action. Wu is afraid their property might be confiscated or that she or husband might end up in detention, but she doesn't want to pay the fine because she doesn't believe she's done anything wrong.

    "I don't think I've committed any crime," she said. "A crime is something that hurts other people or society or that infringes on other people's rights. I don't think having a baby is any kind of crime."

    A daring few challenge one-child limit – USATODAY.com
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
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  3. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Well it might seem inhumane but control is needed and China did it well even if it was harsh. We too need to cap the control to if not 1 kid, at maximum 2 kids per family. Otherwise we will have statistics like:

    200 million poor in India.
    400 million more poor in India.
    More poor in India than Africa.

    And so on. The initiative was a daring one and I appreciate China to have managed to bring population growth down to a trickle in 30 years. But now seeing an aging workforce, they need more kids.

    The thing is, population control is a must but it should be flexible from generation to generation depending on requirement.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    In China, challenges cannot succeed!
     
  5. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    few? people galore have more than 1 child nowadays. Get updated please
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Most people free to have more child
    By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)

    Less than 40 percent of the population is restricted by the family planning policy to having one child, a senior official with the National Population and Family Planning Commission said yesterday.

    While popularly referred to as the "one child policy", the rule actually restricts just 35.9 percent of the population to having one child, Yu Xuejun, a spokesman with the commission, said in a Webcast on the government's website (中华人民共和国中央人民政府门户网站).

    Except in Central China's Henan Province, couples can have two children if they are both only children, he said.

    In addition, more than 11 percent of the population, mostly minority groups, is free to have two or more children, he said.

    In many rural areas, couples are allowed to have a second child if their first is a girl (the so-called "one-and-a-half children policy"). This applies to 52.9 percent of the population. For lack of a social security system, people usually depend on sons to support them when they grow old.

    Yu said China does not want the current birth rate of 1.8 per couple to fall, as it needs to be "in harmony with the economy, resources and environment".

    He said that since 2000, the family planning policy has been adjusted to maintain the birth rate, not lower it.

    "We don't encourage couples who are entitled to have two children to have only one," Yu said. "And it is not true we want the birth rate to be as low as possible."

    He also suggested the export of labor could help reduce the population pressure.

    "Family planning is, of course, not the only way to control the population," he said.

    "China has 20 percent of the world's population, but accounts for only 1 percent of global expatriate laborers.

    "In countries like the Philippines and Mexico, about 10 percent of laborers work abroad every year, which is a good inspiration for our country," he said

    Workers from the Philippines were even beginning to show up in China, he said.

    Yu also said the family planning policy had a "certain relationship" with the acceleration of an aging society and the imbalance in the sex ratio of newborn babies.

    However, he said the government must maintain its birth polices as the baby boom generation of the 1970s and 80s has now reached marriage and childbearing age, risking another population surge if restrictions are dropped.

    "I can see no major changes in the family planning policy before 2010," he said.

    "After that, the government might adjust it according to the situation."

    China has maintained its family planning policy since the late 1970s.

    Most people free to have more child
     
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  7. charlyondfi

    charlyondfi Regular Member

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    A greater tragedy will be: the whole people, under such harsh governance, turns to loose the courage to challenge EVEN GOVERNMENT, when it's really that necessary. Isn't it?
     
  8. charlyondfi

    charlyondfi Regular Member

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    Very honest & straight forward, your always style, Tshering...
    Nevertheless, I admit it's a dilemma. There seems NO PERFECT way. Only hope that after one (to two) generations' sacrifice, we human really find the optimist, and ultimate, way, to control ourselves, especially in resource issue...
     
  9. niharjhatn

    niharjhatn Regular Member

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    That's the kicker right?

    I mean the CCP should be moving towards providing a greater voice to their people if not open democracy... otherwise what you suggested is a definitie possibility.

    If you ask me why I care... its simply because I would feel much more comfortable dealing with a country that ran stuff past their populations rather than an executive cult of elites simply deciding what direction to move in
     
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  10. AprilLyrics

    AprilLyrics Regular Member

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    one-child policy is for people who is urban household register(城市户口).and in some circumstances,even urban people can have more than 1 child.whats more, one-child policy is only for our Han chinese.

    for example,me. i have an urban household register,and i am the only child of my parents.if i marry a woman who is also the only child in her family,then we can have more than one child.

    that means one-child policy is going to be unworked in the next decades.cause these generations of urban people mostly r single child in their family.

    and,the government is also going to change this policy.
     
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  11. indian_sukhoi

    indian_sukhoi Regular Member

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    So for rural people there no 1-child policy right??
     
  12. AprilLyrics

    AprilLyrics Regular Member

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    yes.of cause....and if rural people only have 1-child,govenment will reward them.for example,when their child have a college entrance exam,they will award 5 points.i mean,if his exam score is 600,then it will be 605.and 5 point always mean tens of thousands people....he may get a better college to go.
     
  13. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Speaking of elites simply deciding what direction to move in, what is your take on the Nehru-Gandhi family then?
    Honestly i see little difference between their dominant position in indian politics and CCP princelings.
     
  14. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Thanks for the appreciation. But looking at the extreme imbalance here in India, I must say that what Chinese did was at least to have a serious policy on controlling population.

    Here it is very skewed. For example, the population of north, south and west India is extremely dense whereas east and my own native Northeast India is very low.

    This has to change and be controlled.
     
  15. Vyom

    Vyom Seeker Elite Member

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    It has to, but it has to be self-controlled, that is by means of education and in specific the education of family planning.
     
  16. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    CCP didn't release it, but they actually had slight negative growth from the last census. The one-child policy has had a dramatic impact on Chinese demographics. The age distribution pyramid is half way to being inversed.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As those 45-55s move up into pension age, there aren't enough workers to support them. There are major shortages of women to marry leaving a generation of frustrated men. Women have babies in secret and never see them working away from home. China has the largest foster care system in the world with children being sold into slavery by the tens of thousands annually. There is a major shortage of factory workers that is ending China's economic growth. I call that policy a monumental failure.
     
  17. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The Chinese are buying wives from Vietnam and the girls of Vietnam are said to be very obedient and hardworking compared to the few Chinese girls available for marriage.
     
  18. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Chinese men must have obedient wives. They cannot tolerate women who work and speak out. That is why so many attractive middle class Han girls are single. It is so easy to pick them up when you let them run their mouth.
     
  19. AprilLyrics

    AprilLyrics Regular Member

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    ROFL.....funny judgement of china.....

    u should be an expert of china,en~
     
  20. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    This demographic pyramid is the key based on which many have predicted stagnation and decline of China. Undoubtedly this has been the result of single child policy for so many yaers.
    Single child policy has resulted in pamapred Children seeking easier jobs, not joining the PLA voluntarily (even parents not encouraging children to join PLA), less work force and more of aged manpoer in near future. This is more of a drain on resoures (pension, medical, old age care etc).

    In comparison, Indian and US demographics shows healty trends and ample availability of younger population.
    This is one of the resons why India will take over China in Economic growth past 2020 and supass it by 2050.
     
  21. AprilLyrics

    AprilLyrics Regular Member

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    actually,the fact is totally different.vietnam families who sold their girl,r just for money.with no love to their husband,some of the vietnam brides escape after getting money....i am not blaming them.

    it is not because they r obedient and hardworking,it is because those man can only find vietnam girls on sell....in traditional chinese cultrul,Heir is the most important thing to a man.no matter the civilian or the emperor.even now.those man buy a girl to give birth to a baby....
     
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