China’s One-Child Policy
In our society, the United States, children are seen potentially as the as the future. Whether they are male or female, they have the power to be something when they grow up. But if their life is cut short, the opportunity to do so is taken away. In 1976, China implemented what is known as the “One-Child Policy” in order to try and solve their problem of overpopulation (McDonald, 1996). Although the policy may seem as though it is a good idea in solving the problem, the consequences of this policy has lead to female infanticide.
Throughout centuries, China has been battling with overpopulation, one of the biggest issues that the nation has been faced with, forcing the government to enforce the one-child policy. The desire to control the rapidly growing population dates back to the Mao Zedong era where the population number was at a ripe 602 million people (Stycos, 1989). He believed that with every mouth comes “two hands”. What he did not realize at the time was that too many mouths bring hardship, poverty, and paucity of food supplies. In 1979, the Chinese government decided to enforce a policy that would help minimize the growth of their population (McDonald, 1996). The one-child policy was what they thought would solve the problem. Married couples would have to sign an agreement known as the one-child certificate. This certificate served as a contract between the couple and the Chinese Government stating that the couples and the one child that they have will be granted economic and educational advantages in return for promising not to have more than one child (Audubon, 1994). Since each couple is allowed one child, the gender of that child determines whether or not it stays in China as part of the family.
Since the beginning of time, females were always seen as being inferior to males in any society. The females’ ultimate duties were to have and take of the children, the household duties and be the servant to their husband while the males worked and took care of the family in terms of financial status. In China, the males are the ones that the majority of the couples chose because they are the ones who not only carry on the family name, but also are most likely the ones who are able to provide support for their parents in their old age (Li &Choe, 1997).
In China, when a female is born, especially first, there are many different choices the couple must make. First of all, are they willing to keep the child since it is the only one they can legally keep? If the couple decides that the child they want is a male, they must decide on what to do with this child. What happens to the child ranges from giving them up to state orphanages to murder. Due to the enforcement of the one-child policy, many female children end up in orphanages (Beijing Review, 1997). Being put into an orphanage in our society would give the child a chance to live and maybe even be adopted by another family. In China, the conditions in the orphanages are so filthy that the neglect that they would have at home if the couple decided to keep the female would be better than the maltreatment they would receive.
Many female children end up in orphanages in China rarely having males occupy them unless there was something wrong with the child. Each month 90 percent from 50 to 60 baby girls arrive in one of the many orphanages and end their lives their (Choe, 1995). The children sit on bamboo benches with their hands and feet tied to the armrests and legs of the chair. Below them are buckets that are placed under the holes in the seats to catch their excretions. When it is time for bed, the children are taken out of the seats and tied to their beds (Geographical Magazine, 1996). This is the treatment that that the children face everyday and the Chinese do not see a problem with such harsh behavior. If anything of this sort occurred in the United States, the people would see to it that