Does The One-Child Policy Will Save Us?

by magaliemasson on September 12, 2016 - 10:58pm

Last year, at the end of October 2015, the most populous country in the world announced the end of the one-child policy. This public policy of birth control implemented by China since 1979 would henceforth allow the married couples to give birth to a second child, thing that was not recommended to do before. Intended to limit communist China’s population growth, the policy occured mainly by criminalizing parents who have more than one child or by implementing abortions and sterilizations by force. Not only does this practice was used to prevent overcrowding, but it was also intended to correct the imbalanced gender ratio between men and women. However, even if the policy has been retracted on January 1st 2015, limitations on additional births still exist in China. Indeed, the new birth control points out to the couple that the second child is only conceivable if one of the spouses is an only child. Other constraints are also applied, according to the place of residence, for instance. Implicitly, these amendments  give prominence to males.

According to the author Claude Leblanc, the initial rule is a demographic time bomb; the renewal of generations has not been assured and consequently, the Chinese population is aging. He proclaimed this practice should not have been applied this way.

Evaluating both sides of the social issues, arguments in favor of the one-child policy supports that the one-child policy is one of the greatest idea to control overpopulation and that it will be used by a growing number of countries over the years, seeing that our resources are decreasing and that they are limited. A second point agreeing with the policy comes from an economic motivation. By reducing the number of citizens, the allocation of resources may be more generous and improve the standard of living. From a contrary point of view, the one-child policy may create human trafficking and the increasing number of hidden babies. Furthermore, a study conducted by researchers specializing in development economics and published in January 2013 in the periodical Science, concluded that the one-child policy spawned a generation less competitive, less conscientious and more pessimistic (Thibault).

If we analyze the public policy from an ethical point of view, we distinguish moral claims and values behind the arguments.

Firstly, the side that supports the one-child policy instituted in a society defends the ethical principle that people should always act for the greater good. In the last decades, China asked its citizens to follow the new rule to avoid overcrowding problems and to slow down pollution. The standard of living would be improved and the economy prosperous. Thus, adhering to the new policy, people involved in improve the common good. The collective responsibility and cooperation are two values linked to the seek of common good and defended by people who believe in the benefits of the one-child policy.

Secondly, the opposite point of view arguing against the policy established in China stands up for the respect of people’s autonomy. The individual freedom and the equality of opportunity are values that support the last moral claim. Individuals are free to choose what they want to do with their body and how they want their family. By imposing such a policy, people are constrained in their choices and are neglected in their rights and freedoms.

After evaluating both side of the ethical issue, I am in favor of the one-child policy. I believe this can be a long-term investment for our future. Resources are running out at a high speed so we need to slow down our consumption and to think about our health and the one of our children in the future. Also, by restricting the number of children per family, the majority of the parents will have a single child and consequently, all the efforts and love will be concentrated on the child and his or her development. Finally, families will have the chance to live a richer lifestyle because there will have less individual to satisfy.

If we pursue this practice all over the world for some decades, will we see an improvement in our quality of life? Or have we already passed the point of no return?





Thibault, Harold. "La politique de l’enfant unique a rendu les Chinois pessimistes et moins compétitifs." Le Monde, January 12 2013, Accessed September 10, 2016.

Leblanc, Claude. "Pékin met la politique de l’enfant unique au placard." L’Opinion, July 23 2015, Accessed September 10, 2016


Your topic for your case study particularly interested me since, myself, I am a product of the one-child policy in China, meaning that I was adopted by a Canadian family. You bring an excellent point by stating that the policy allows for that single child to be we fully nurtured and be provided with the basic needs that some Chinese families struggle to provide because of their low income.
However, personally, I am not in favour of the policy even though it is what brought me here. Many Chinese families still idealize males as the main progeny who will be able to provide, protect and care for the household as their parents age. As a result, the one child policy causes parents to abandon or put to adoption girls in hope for boy in a future pregnancy. Today, China is currently going through a gender imbalance. As the ethical principle states, human life is fundamentally valuable, thus, a boy's life should not be more important than a girl's. In brief, both genders deserve to have equality of opportunity to be part of loving family. In all, the one-child policy itself encourages the emphasis on the full development of one child, however, should expanding the policy to two children per family would help correct the gender imbalance in China?
Great job!

Your post instantly caught my attention since China’s one-child policy completely changed my life. The policy brought me to Canada since I was adopted by Canadian parents. I understand why the policy was instituted, China is the most populous country in the world and the policy limited the risk of even more overpopulation. I agree with you, having only one child means completely devoting your life to your child. It can be easier for families who have low incomes because more children could potentially jeopardize fulfilling the needs of every child. But I am still against China’s one-child policy; limiting the amount of kids per family is an entire violation of freedom. Carrying a child is a personal choice that should not affect the population. If a family is able to have more than one child, she should have the right to do so. The policy created more negative than positive outcomes. The ratio of men and women is unbalanced; families valued having boys rather than girls. Many babies end up hidden or given to adoption; parents are hurting the child by leaving him because there is no guarantee that the child will be found or saved. Although, I am grateful to be with my family, the right for freedom is more important than greater good. Is overpopulation the real issue or is it a way for the government to impose his power?

Your topic caught my eye as soon as I saw it. You clearly presents both point of views regarding the one child policy in China but i personally think that this policy should not exist because it shows the inequality between sexes. Male children are more valuable than women children. I think that families should have the rights to have more then one child because it is creating an instability between gender. I think that China should reevaluate its policy because is the one child policy really helping the major problem China is living which is overpopulation?