China says stop to the one-child policy

in Asia @en by

The 18th Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party, which has defined the lines of the five-year plan that will bring the Asian giant at the turn of the next decade, is intended to go down in history for its decisions related to demographic policies. The 200 members of the Central Committee of the party, that have met last Thursday, have indeed marked the end of the over thirty-year one-child policy.

The 18th Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party, which has defined the lines of the five-year plan that will bring the Asian giant at the turn of the next decade, is intended to go down in history for its decisions related to demographic policies. The 200 members of the Central Committee of the party, that have met last Thursday, have indeed marked the end of the over thirty-year one-child policy.

[subscriptionform]
[level-european-affairs]
Already in 2013, restrictions was loosened and couples consisting of two only children were been granted to have up to two children. From today, this possibility will be available to all, with no risk of fines and penalties by the authorities.

The one-child policy was introduced in China in 1979, with the aim to reduce the overpopulation in a country still poor and poorly industrialized. In purely numerical terms, the population control policies have been successful. Some estimates they have reduced the number of inhabitants of 400 million, compared to projections related to the previous birth rate. But the tight state control over births produced also negative effects. Over the last 36 years more boys than girls are born in China, resulting in a strong gender imbalance and consequent social tensions. In addition, the one-child policy has led to an aging population and a reduction in the number of young working people, with a parallel increase in the share of pensioners. The risk, for China, was growing too old before reaching a widespread prosperity.

The decisions made by the Plenum, however, will have effect only in the long run and it will take decades to reverse the trend and to correct the distortions caused by the strict population control. And the results could be different than expected. China is in fact a country divided in two parts, from an economic and social point of view. 400 million Chinese live on the coasts, in the more developed regions, where the cost of living is higher and where the most of the new middle class lives. The other 900 million still live in the less developed inland areas, where the effects of economic growth have been slow in coming. It is likely that the populations of these areas, with the end of the one-child policy, will grow faster than the populations in coastal areas, making the gap, between the two souls of the contemporary China, still deeper.

The problem is accentuated by the slowdown in economic expansion. During the years of the GDP growth at double digits, it was believed that poorer China would have inevitably benefit, in the long run, from the long wave of development. For the next five years, however, the Plenum has planned a “medium-high growth “, in the order of 6-7% per annum. The demand for cheap labor from coastal areas, that the interior regions have always taken charge of, could decrease as a consequence. The reduction in labor offer, along with a new demographic rush, could therefore have and heavy relapse on the poorest rural areas, with social consequences which are difficult to predict.
Luca Marchesini

[/level-european-affairs]

 

Lascia un commento

Your email address will not be published.

*