Friday, February 29, 2008

China Re-evaluates Its "Onlies" Policy

So China's vice minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission has 'fessed up that the nation's one-child policy doesn't seem to be working so well. We are SO not surprised. Interestingly, all this comes as China is trying to soften its human rights image as Beijing prepares to play host to the Olympics in August. As reported in the New York Times ("China to Reconsider One-Child Limit") this morning:
China’s fertility rate is now extremely low, and the population is rapidly aging, especially in urban areas. Experts have warned that China is steadily moving toward a demographic crisis with too many old people in need of expensive services and too few young workers paying taxes to meet those bills.

Good riddance to the policy, I say. Because here's some backstory:
In the 1980s, officials routinely forced women to abort fetuses that would have resulted in above-quota births, and both men and women were often forced to undergo sterilization operations.

Enforcement of the policy has softened markedly in recent years, with most areas relying on fines to ensure compliance. But scandals over forced abortions continue to arise periodically. The restrictions also have deepened a severe imbalance in the ratio of boys to girls in the population because many families have used selective abortions to ensure the birth of a son, the traditional preference.
'Nuf said.

Not that I'm anti-having-an-only-child, of course! I, for one, very likely will, having found love late in life as I have, and I think an only sounds great! And China, of course, is just a very roundabout way to refer to Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo the anthology, which is jumping the numbers on Amazon again now that it's out in paperback--whohoo! My coeditor Daphne and I got together yesterday to do a little happy dance. Though she fell asleep in the cafe. She's 7 months pregnant with #2.

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