China pushed one-child policy propaganda for decades. Now couples are reluctant to have more children
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June 2, 2021 (Family Research Council) – On Monday, in an effort to reverse China's rapidly declining birthrate, Chinese authorities announced expanding the country's two-child policy to three. The three-child policy is the third iteration of China's one-child policy instituted in 1979 for the purpose of slowing population growth. The one-child policy was carried out with unrestrained brutality and it proved all too effective.
Under the one-child mandate, Chinese women were given permission to have one child. Those pregnant with a second were forced to abort their child and were then sterilized. Those who managed to hide until the birth of a second child were fined, demoted at work, and shunned socially. Second children were excluded from ration coupons, leaving families who defied the policy at risk of starvation. In some areas of the country, government officials separated second children from their families shortly after birth. Unsurprisingly, the policy prevented 400 million births, and caused a drastic decline in China's population.
Now, Chinese leaders observe an aging population and a shrinking young workforce – a direct result of the campaign to limit births. Foreseeing the looming economic disaster and desperately hoping to maintain the country's demographic advantage, policymakers hope to right the course with the latest easing back on birth restrictions. The Chinese government thinks that it can change policies and the reality of population trends will similarly change overnight. This grossly underestimates the damage that was done by the one-child policy over the course of more than three decades.
When China sought to reverse their declining birthrate by extending their one child policy, to two in 2015, the "expansion" had little effect. Years of state propaganda arguing women should limit their families to just one child, claiming that one child was more likely to be clever, pretty, and lovely, and incentivizing "less births, better births, to develop China vigorously," had a huge impact on Chinese culture. As evidenced by the 29,000 responses of "I would never think of it" to a 31,000 person online Chinese poll asking "are you ready for the three-child policy", that cultural impact continues today indicating that – similar to the two-child policy – the three-child policy will fail to reverse China's population decline.
The Chinese government should not be surprised that their propaganda efforts have been effective and that having more than one child is still outside the realm of what most Chinese couples will consider. One Chinese mother admitted to Reuters that, "it would be a bit better if a child has siblings." Yet, economic pressures and social norms are affecting her decision. She said, "realistically, I don't want to have a second child. And a third is even more impossible." The same government that told couples one child was better for families and for society can hardly be surprised at the reluctance for families to exceed two, or even one, child.
Americans should take note of and learn from this tragedy while the United States still has the opportunity to choose a different path. Thankfully, the United States government has not imposed a child-limit on families, but, American culture, and the new policies promoted by the anti-life Biden administration pose a similar threat.
In 2020, the U.S. birthrate fell by 4 percent to its lowest point in history. In 2021, the birthrate is predicted to fall 12-14 percent more. During that same time period overt disrespect for human life has increased. Avow, formerly known as NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, announced a $3,000 per year stipend for employees who have abortions, a Satanic temple raffled off an abortion up to $2,500 as part of a fundraising campaign and Planned Parenthood lobbied girls as young as 11 to be part of a birth control study without their parent's knowledge. And America has elected the most anti-life, pro-abortion president in history, who has already championed countless extreme anti-life policies including: abolishing the Mexico City Policy, providing more funding to the abortion business than any other president, creating an "American Families" plan that uses families as a tool of the economy, and creating a budget that does not include the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits American taxpayer dollars from funding abortions.
While the United States does not have a one-child, two-child, or three-child policy, the U.S. is currently promoting a culture of death similar to China's. Families are not valued, unborn children in the womb are systematically destroyed, conscience rights are violated, and evil is celebrated. Though failing, China is clearly trying to turn back the clock. The reality is that healthy families benefit individuals, societies, and economies. Both the American government and Chinese government should learn this lesson and implement policies that truly support, rather than undermine, families.
Published with permission from the Family Research Council.