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Comparing and Contrasting Population Policies

 

Theme

China

Singapore

Classification

Anti-Natalist

Pro - Natalist

Top Down/Bottom Up

Top Down - led by Chinese Government

Top Down - led by Singaporean Government

Why was the policy needed?

Population growth rate increased after pro-natalist policy of early 50s
Great Leap Forward combined with population increase lead to famine and malnutrition
Previous anti-natalist initiatives e.g. Two Child Policy had not reduced the growth rate enough

"The population is not growing fast enough to replace itself in the long term; many Singaporeans remain unmarried and those who marry tend to have fewer children"
Government of Singapore 1991

3.5 million population
High population density yet govt believes that country can accommodate 4 million more without compromising quality of life.
Birth rate of 15.7 per 1000 exceeds death rate of 5 per 1000 but population is ageing.

Current trends suggest that population will peak in 2025 and then decline.

How does it work?

1980 - One Child Policy Introduced. Policy guidelines tightened in the "1991 Decision"
Officially based on benefits for couples agreeing to have one child:

  • priority health care
  • priority housing allocation
  • priority educational provision
  • extra land for private farming
  • extra food rations
  • financial bonus for each work unit composed of 100% one child families

Monitored by state including the "Granny Police" in small communities. Includes public tracking of the menstrual cycle, compulsory pelvic examinations on those suspected of being pregnant, IUD`s inserted in women with one child and x-ray checked to ensure that they have not been removed.

In practice, punishments for violating state family planning regulations e.g. if couple fail to abort unapproved pregnancies or for births to couples under the legal marriage age:

  • fines
  • losing government benefits (including right to university places for second child)
  • increased taxation
  • demotion
  • dismissal from Communist Party

Official party line is that coercive action must not be taken by the state.

Exemptions include:

  • some families in rural areas
  • since 1995, if both parents are themselves only children
  • if the first child is disabled
  • Chinese people returning to China from abroad
  • some relaxation in urban areas e.g. Shanghai (2001)

1987 - New Population policy
Targeted young couples who were putting a family on hold to forward careers and personal interests.

Tax incentives

Poster campaign
"Children - Life would be empty without them"
"Now that you are married, take the next step"

Impacts

Birth of Girl "a little happiness has arrived"
Birth of Boy "a great happiness has arrived"

Female infanticide, especially in rural areas.  Girls join husband's family and so are seldom able to support parents in old age.

Increase in sterilisation rates

Gender imbalance - some areas 300 males to 100 females. 70 million bachelors

Little Emperor Syndrome

Propaganda posters a regular sight: two modern, well dressed parents with   a baby girl.

Government Targets by 2000:
Limit population to 1.3 billion
Growth rate lowered to less than 1%

China's birth rate:
1960 = 37 per 1000
1988 = 21 per 1000
1998 = 16 per 1000

Growth rate:
1978 = 1.4%
1980 = 1.2%
1998 = 1.04%

Lowering of women of child bearing age to 26.7% in 2000

Increasing the percentage of aged population:
1982 = 7.63%
2000 = 9.84%
2030 = 21.9%

Lost of concepts of aunt, uncle and cousin along with brother and sister in another generation.

Birth rate rose from 1.5 to1.9 by 1990

Economic growth rate may slow if birth rate does not continue to grow or if immigration policies are not relaxed.

 

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