China's one child policy

China's one child policy

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  • In 1979, the then-leader of the People's Republic of China, Deng Xiaoping, introduced a law dictating that Chinese couples were only allowed to have one Child
  • This was an attempt to slow the population growth in the country that at the time was increasing very quickly towards 970 million and this was causing a food shortage.
  • The law caused outrage across the nation as many families had traditions dating back hundreds of years that supported large families and so in many rural areas of China, the policy was boycotted
  • The one child policy was met with a lot of controversy from the Western world, particularly with human rights groups when it emerged that pregnant women who already had children were being fed steroids and were forced to abort their unborn children 
  • Because each couple was limited to one child, most couples preferred to have a boy as they could carry on the family name and girls would marry young and live with their husbands, meaning there would be no one to look after their parents when they grow old. Because of this, there was a huge gender imbalance as many girls had been killed by their parents who wanted a son.
  • Despite all of the controversy, China's one child policy did arguably work in that it reduced the birth rate and during its time, the population of China increased from 970 million to 1.2 billion.It is estimated that the one child policy prevented 400 million births.  Today, there is 119 men for every 100 women and to prevent the margin increasing, in 2015, the law was changed to allow for a second child. 
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