After 35 years, China’s ruling Communist Party finally announced after a key meeting on Thursday (today October 29th, 2015) via its official Xinhua News Agency that the country will “allow all couples to have two children, abandoning its decades-long one-child policy“.
For those unfamiliar with China’s one-child policy, it was first introduced in 1978 and formally launched nationwide in 1980 to “rein in the surging population by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two children, if the first child born was a girl.”
China expert Dr. Ning Wang at Arizona State University (Dr. Wang is the co-author of “How China Became Capitalist” with late Nobel prize winning economist Ronald Coase) shared his view about the ending of China’s one-child policy in an exclusive interview with this reporter.
Dr. Wang stated (emphasis added), “After more than 30 years, the one-child policy finally came to its end. It was a rushed policy, poorly thought-out, implemented with violence and brutality. It has done more harm to the Chinese people and the Chinese civilization than any other policy implemented since the beginning of reform.”
Wang continued, “While we celebrate the end of the one-child policy, we have to recognize that to allow a couple to have two children is far from enough. In the first place, the replacement level fertility rate is 2.1; this is, each woman should give birth to a bit more than two children simply to keep the population stable. In addition, some women will have one child only or no child at all. It is hence critical for other women to have 3 or even more children.”
Wang concluded the interview by stating, “how many children a family wants to have is their private business — I cannot think of anything else more private. The state should stay away from such private decisions. If the state wants to be remain active, it can invest in education and health care, particularly in rural areas.”
Here is a video excerpt of Dr. Wang interview with Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase on China’s One-Child Policy conducted in 2013, a few months before Coase passed away at 102 years old.
P.S. With a foresight of 30 years, Hong Kong University economics professor Steven N. S. Cheung in 1985 published the article “A society without brothers and sisters” (“沒有兄弟姐妹的社會“) discussing China’s one-child policy. Cheung wrote in the newspaper Hong Kong Economics Journal,
(rough English translation:) “If continued, 10 or 20 years later, Chinese youth will have no brothers or sisters. With further passing of time, everyone will have no uncles or aunts. Everyone, other than their parents, will be kinless!” (original Chinese: “長此下去，一二十年後，中國的青年都沒有兄弟姐妹。再過些時日，所有的人都沒有叔、伯、姑、表――除父母以外，每個人都是舉目無親！“)
While the word “everyone” was probably a literary device, thus a bit exaggerated, the world that Cheung foretold has unfortunately come true in 2015 for many Chinese as they, other than their aging parents, are basically kinless.