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'One family - one child': what the famous Chinese experiment led to

'15.10.2021'

Source: ADME

All over the world, men and women, starting a family, decide for themselves how many children they want to have. However, there are countries in which the state decides family issues. China has been such a country for a long time. The policy of one child became known to the whole world, because no one had conducted such experiments before, writes ADME.

Photo: Shutterstock

How was it from the inside? It must be very strange to be under the supervision of the state in such personal matters. Going a little deeper into this topic, we were extremely impressed with how everything happened and what this policy brought.

Until the early 1970s, an average of about 6 children were born in Chinese families. However, between 1979 and 2015, thanks to the One Family - One Child policy, the birth rate dropped to an average of 1,6. The decision to limit the birth rate was due to the fact that people began to overload the country's natural and energy resources.

In practice, this means that the country was very overpopulated, due to which the living conditions became simply appalling. Hunger and devastation reigned everywhere, medical care was not enough for everyone, mortality was extremely high. People had to survive in poverty. Therefore, many perceived the one-child policy rather positively.

The law provided for exceptions: in some provinces, villagers could have 2 children if the first child was a girl (and the difference between them had to be at least 5 years), and ethnic groups with less than 100 thousand people (for example, Tibetans) were allowed to give birth even 3.

How the system worked

The first thing that was done to curb the birth rate was huge fines. For the appearance of an "extra" child, the parents paid a fine in the amount of 4-8 average annual salaries (fines varied from province to province). Of course, for most families, this amount was too much. Some families could afford such a luxury, while those who had nothing to pay were taken away from their property.

Money was not the only measure resorted to by the government. Posters were posted all over the country promoting how good and right it is to have only one child. Propaganda was everywhere: on buildings, on postcards, even on matchboxes. This was broadcast in performances and operas, and children's groups performed songs about a happy future, where everyone has only one child. On the walls of houses you can still find the slogans "Do not get pregnant and do not give birth without permission."

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There was an incentive program in the villages: plaques with stars were installed on houses. They showed the success of the family: the fulfillment of the socialist plan, etc. And one of the "success" stars was given for the fact that the family had no more than one child. Children were ashamed of their younger siblings because they made the family dysfunctional. And they didn't give a star for that.

Sterilization of women and termination of pregnancies very late in the pregnancy were common. It was believed that women did this procedure voluntarily, but in reality people were forced: those who refused, destroyed their houses and confiscated property - these were the orders of the government. Few of the village leaders enjoyed it all, but they had to follow orders.

Everyone who survived this experiment is unanimous: "The policy of one child was very tough, but we could not do anything."

Executors of the one-child policy

The filmmakers of One Child Nation interviewed Huazhu Yuan, a village midwife who had to work at the time. The woman said that during her work she performed from 50 to 60 thousand medical procedures to prevent pregnancy. “I remember them because of guilt. My hands were shaking, but I had no choice. We all had no choice. Yes, they gave me an order, but I followed it. "

Medical procedures aimed at limiting the birth rate were organized at the state level. For nearly 20 years, teams of doctors have traveled to the provinces and implemented the one child policy. Each year, the state punished or awarded obstetricians, depending on the number of children born in the reporting territory.

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Now Huazhu Yuan is involved in charity work and almost free of charge helps young couples in the fight against infertility. “Once a 108-year-old monk told me: 'If you treat infertility, then every one born thanks to you will redeem a hundred unborn.' His words stuck in my heart, and I decided to change at least something. "

"Extra" children still appeared

Photo: Shutterstock

In spite of everything, children were still born “unauthorized”. They were often left in the markets in the hope that someone would take the baby. But usually no one took them: there were too many children. Until a certain time, few people were interested in the fate of these children. However, in 1992, an international adoption program was launched in China. At the same time, shelters began to appear, where many brought the children they found: they were paid $ 200 for this.

The adoption program turned out to be in great demand: the demand for Chinese orphans was colossal. They took a payment from foreign parents of the orphanage - from $ 10 to 25 thousand. Everyone was told the same thing: the child was thrown in a basket at the door of a school, an orphanage or someone's house.

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It was actually a business, and it was incredibly large-scale. Thousands of people in China found children and took them to orphanages. Many simply wanted to help: they hoped that this would give the children a chance for survival and a better life. Since 1991, about 120 Chinese children have been adopted by their parents from abroad.

However, as time went on, the one-child policy began to bear fruit: there were fewer children. But the appetites of the child sales agents grew. Therefore, child abduction is still common in China.

Experiment Results 35 Years Later

By the time the program was completed, 400 million births had been prevented in China, saving huge amounts of money. The birth rate in China has indeed fallen, which is exactly what the government wanted. And the standard of living has increased - not only the consumption of natural resources has become normal. The intellectual level of the nation rose: the only child was treated as the greatest treasure and given the best education. Undoubtedly, this can be attributed to the main plus of the current policy.

However, for now, the cons outweighs:

  • Because of the experiment, Chinese men miss women. And all because families, having learned that there will be a girl, simply disposed of them as garbage. As a result, there was a demographic imbalance: men have no one to marry, which entails not only riots, but also a snowball of declining birth rates. At the moment, there are 30 million more men in China than women.
  • Caring for the elderly in China has always been the responsibility of children. However, if earlier brothers and sisters could cooperate and, without much harm to themselves, help their parents to meet old age with dignity, now the task of feeding not only their family, but also their parents falls on the shoulders of that very only child. And often this is an unbearable burden.
  • Again, if an elderly parent dies for some reason, their only child is a real tragedy. And not only because such a loss is in itself terrible. This also means that no one will take care of old people in old age: there are no pensions in China.

In 2015, the One Family - One Child program ended. It lasted 36 years. It would seem that now everyone can live as he wants. But it never happens in China. The ban has not been lifted - it just became softer. The concept of the government has changed: if earlier there were posters on every corner urging to stop at one child, now you can see the slogans “One is too little. Two is just right. "

Again motivating leaflets, pictures, posters and performances, again songs in which only the number has changed: instead of 1 there is 2. “Any family can have two children. We are shining with pride! " - such songs are now sung in China.

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