China's One Child Policy Case Study

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China might be thinking about scrapping its controversial one child policy, as the country faces a demographic challenge. China’s population is aging and labour force is declining. Could the country create a baby boom?

China is facing a big demographic problem as the country now has the biggest and rapidly aging population while the working age population also continues to decline. The situation is made trickier by the fact that China’s economic growth is cooling off. In order to ease the situation the country’s officials are considering removing the controversial one child policy. Could China create a new baby boom?

The controversial law has been in place for over 30 years, but it might be about to end. In a China Business News article,
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Last year, the working-age population (ages 15 to 59) decreased by 3.71 million, adding more pressure on the Chinese economy.

Political pressure

While the country clearly has to find a way to overcome the demographic challenge, the one child policy is becoming politically unsustainable as well. According to Dr Fang, “As China’s economy has grown and its fertility dropped to very low level, the majority of Chinese no longer supports such a policy.” He pointed out that younger people “cannot understand why faced with such dire demographics…the government still continues such a policy that intrudes on people’s lives and incurs substantial financial costs”.

Therefore, the policy isn’t only a demographic and economic problem for the officials; it is also a political issue. The Internet has been a powerful tool in increasing the visibility of opposition to the law. Many analysts within and outside of China have also been increasingly outspoken about the failures of the law.

It’s unlikely the government can continue to hold on to the policy for much longer. The bigger question is whether even a change in the policy can quickly drive up China’s birth

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