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 “It was 1968 when a man in China killed his wife, three sons and four daughters and then he himself committed suicide. The man did all this because he was unable to feed his family” (The Nation). This was the time when the “population of China was about 78 million” (Chinatoday). Most of the Chinese were lacking the basic necessities of the life and their economical and social condition was getting worse each day. This huge population of China forced the government officials to think of a policy for population control so that the country and its people could be better off. So the “One Child Policy” came into being and was implemented in 1979. The aim of the policy was to control the enormous increase in the population and to induce economic growth. The policy brought up positive results for the country and its people and so has been in effect till now. There has been a lot of debate on the topic all over the world but the majority has viewed it as a step towards both the economical, social and cultural prosperity.  
     In an effort to persuade the present generation to conform to the One Child Policy, the country adopted a system of economic rewards and penalties. “The basic offer to parents was a 5-10 percent salary bonus for limiting their families to one child and a 10 per cent salary deduction for those who produced two or more” (Jowett). In addition to their salary bonus, parents who signed a one-child pledge and received the planned parenthood glory certificate, gained preferential treatment in terms of access to such scarce commodities as food, housing and health care while their single child received priority in access to education and employment.
“One Child Policy” has brought about many positive changes in China. Firstly, the One Child Policy helped to improve the social life of the common people of China. Until 1978, China was one of the poorest nations of the world with people lacking health facilities, education, food, clothing and even shelter but after the implication of the policy in 1979, the standard of living of an individual Chinese improved to a large extent. The children were provided with the improved level of education and health facilities. The enrolment rates of elementary and middle schools increased dramatically after 1979 when it reached to about 95.5% and 90.6% respectively (“Entrepreneur”). Similarly, the Heath-Care sector in China also improved and the facility become available even to the common people of the society which was not the case before the implication of the policy.
  Secondly, China has always suffered economically until 1978. It was because until 1978, the government was using its resources to provide people with the basic necessities rather than using these resources in the economic growth. It is also evident from the fact that the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of China was declining until 1978 but began increasing from 1979 (“Chinatoday”). Moreover, the unemployment rate was also high before 1979 and hence most of the people were living below the poverty line. The main reason for this massive downfall for China was its high population. The individual saving rate has also increased in China since the introduction of one child policy. This has been partially attributed to the policy in two respects.  First, the average Chinese household expends fewer resources, both in terms of time and money, on children, which gives them more time, opportunity and money to invest. Second, since young Chinese can no longer rely on children to care for them in their old age, there is an impetus to save money for the future. Nowadays China is one of the leading economies of the world. The economic growth of China after the 1979 clearly indicates that the policy has played a vital role in making the country economically strong.
Also, the policy has contributed in the better grooming and upraising of the coming generations. It is believed that children and their parents often share a higher level of intimacy. The parents are often not able to provide full attention to each and every child when they are more than one, so the children either get spoiled or they are not able to produce the desired results. On the other hand, parents with one child are more attentive to the needs of their child; they make a greater effort to maintain good relations and are more supportive toward their child’s personal and academic endeavours. So, the One Child Policy make parents more responsive towards their child which helps the child build confidence in him and learn to deal with the hard times from their parent’s experiences and progress in life (“Advantages and Disadvantages”).
There have been a lot of critiques on the implication of such a policy by different people across the world. First, the critics of the policy argue that it is against the human rights to force upon people certain size of the family. Abortion and other birth control phenomenon, usually practised for controlling the birth, are harshly criticised by the human rights. However, they neglect the fact that providing economic equality, employment, education and other basic health facilities to the people of the country also lie under the basic human rights. The critics of the policy think of one violation in human rights (right of family size) but they do not think of the several other benefits and human rights that are provided through this policy. 
Second, the critics of the policy also argue that the policy will force the parents to abandon or kill their baby girl. The cultural traditions of Chinese show them to be more inclined towards the boy because they think boys to be their ancestors and the ones who will support them in their old age. However, the critics ignore the fact that the policy will induce the Chinese people to end sex discrimination and will force them to provide equal rights and love to their babies, regardless of their sex. The government should also discourage people to abandon or kill their babies by imposing heavy fines and punishments to make sure that the positive results of One Child Policy are attained in the field of sex discrimination (adoption).
Also, the critics argue that this policy will cause the work force (people who work) to decrease and hence it will adversely affect the development of the country. But the reality is that in the coming times, the development of a country will mostly depend on technology rather than the work force, which is possible if the people are highly educated. Understandably thus, the government can better provide the required quality education if there is smaller population to deal with.  Similarly, the government will be able to use the natural resources present in the country more efficiently, which also play an important role in the development of a country. A large population may also result in inflation and unemployment, which are the hurdles in the national growth. So, it is not the large number of people that make a country progress, but the technological advancement alongside quality education.
Although the China’s one child policy, which was implemented 30 years back, faced great criticism from people across the globe yet it remained implemented because it produced the results it was aimed for. Overall the policy turned out to be a step towards the betterment of the people and the country. It was always represented as an attempt to increase central government control and to severely restrict people’s freedom of choice in determining the size of their family. Some think it as the cause for gender imbalance while others think it as an open violation to the basic human rights. But the critics ignore the fact if this policy was never implemented in the 1979 then there would have been no place in China up till now to accommodate the newly born children and the government rather than making economic progress would have been involved in making its resources enough for the people. Thus, One Child Policy in China has brought the country on the international front as the economic forerunners of the world and this policy has helped China become a pioneer in the field of economy as well as information and technology. Also, the policy has contributed a lot in improving the social and cultural life of the common people of the country.

Written By: Rao Shahbaz Hassan

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