China's One Child Policy

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It was in my discussions about adoption with my wife that I first learned of the One Child Policy in China. But after adopting two Chinese girls who were themselves an unfortunate consequence of this policy have I been able to put a “face” to the problem. In our class this year we spoke of the Christian view of humanity: the fact that we are all created in God’s image (imago Dei) and how a misunderstanding of the human person can lead to a culture which is often contrary to human dignity.1 China’s One Child Policy is a prime example of what can happen when humans reduce other humans to faceless numbers. We see a government that has removed any sense of God from its structure and so in the words of Blessed John Paul II, “He no longer considers life as a splendid gift of God” but “Life itself becomes a mere ‘thing’, which man claims as his exclusive property, completely subject to this control and manipulation”.2
It is precisely control and manipulation that led to the One Child Policy, more formally known as the family planning policy, in China. Started in 1980 by the Chinese Communist Party the policy was created after Chairman Mao launched a campaign to encourage families to have more children, leading to birthrates of over 4 children per family. During this time there was a food shortage that resulted in 30 million Chinese dying of man-made famine. Even though the birthrate had dropped below 3 children per family by 1980, a new group of Chinese leaders believed that forcibly restricting population growth would help the country become more prosperous and from this idea of restricting population growth One Child Policy was born.
As the name states the policy restricts the majority of Chinese families to one child each. The conse...

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...the horrific effect that the One Child Policy has had upon the Chinese people and its devastation to basic human rights. But it’s the policy’s unintended economic consequences that are now precipitating change. With so few children, China is rapidly aging. Its population over the age of 65 is soaring, and at one of the fastest rates in the world. The International Monetary Fund warns that China’s work force will soon fall into “precipitous decline.” It predicts a labor shortage of almost 140 million workers by early 2030, with “far-reaching implications.”6
Reform or elimination of this abhorrent social policy based upon humanitarian reasons would be a wonderful step forward for the Chinese Communist Party but even if change is based upon economic reasons at least it is movement in the correct direction. We all know that God can write straight with our crooked lines.

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