lundi 18 novembre 2013

Beijing and the One Child Policy : a spectacular change occuring ?

The Chinese leaders have made important announcments regarding the one child policy last week. The date when the new measures are going to be applied is not yet revealed but it should be quite soon and obviously represents a shift in the way Chinese consider their demography.

The thing is that there is a demographic bomb, as some experts says, in China's demography and its population getting older.

What is new in the new measure announced ? Quite simple, until now to be allowed to have two kinds in China, both parents had themselves to be single childs, but when the new measure will be adopted, couples where only one of the parents is himself a single child will be allowed to have two kids.

The experts, such a Wang Feng, scholar at the Tsinghua University believe that further loosing of the one child policy are going to occur in the incoming years. This is a serious change of point of view among Chinese leaders. It is even believed that all the restrictions regarding children will be suppressed in a near future.

The current Chinese law has been adopted in 1979, to avoid a demographic boom and to ensure a smoother developemnt of the country and better living standards for China.

Some exceptions do exist now, especially in the countryside, for ethnic minorities and couples in rural areas. If the first children is a girl, it is allowed to have a second kid.
This means that the one-child policy doesn't apply to around 37% of the Chinese couples (at least this is the figure in 2007) and the fees that couple have to pay when they have additional kids is quite low for a growing number of Chinese couples that do not hesitate to pay it and have new kids.
This means that the new measure onl represent 10 million of couples, that is not so many people compared with teh overall Chinese population and this won't change a lot the demographic trends in the country.

Nevertheless; this is a very important swith in the demographic planning of the country, and might be the beginning of the end for this system.
The fear of overpopulation is over, with a birth rate in China of 1.5 child per women, quite far from the 2.1 rate which is necessary to ensure population stability, in a society obsessed with access to real estate.
The new demographic problem in China the the ageing population, consequence of three decades of birth control.

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