China - Population Growth The government is omnipresent in Chinese society and has played an important role in shaping family life in mainland China. Chinese society is intensely family-oriented and the family, as opposed to the individual, is the basic social unit. Relatively homogenous in nature, Confucianism is the near universal ideological basis for families in Chinese society (Roopnarine & Gielen 51). The Communist government of China has been activist in nature since the early days of the Chinese revolution. Economic development, particularly since 1978, has led to an increase in the standard of living, rises in per capita income, industrialization and urbanization.
Compulsory education is presently being promoted in conjunction with advances in health and overall increases in life expectancy. The role of the government in regulating family life in China is most controversially expressed through the one-child policy, in place for more than 20 years. This policy restricts the number of children a family can have to one and is often described as an egregious attempt at social engineering. Population growth is thus a real and legitimate concern for Chinese authorities (Roopnarine & Gielen 50-60; “China's Child Fines 2007”; “China Steps Up” 2000).
Chinese authorities do not feel that they can afford more people. Human population growth is changing in light of environmental factors and the Chinese authorities feel that their country has reached its carrying capacity. With a population of 1.34 billion people, growth has been stymied at 0.66%, ranking China 146 in the world with respect to population growth. Accordingly, China also has a birth rate and death rate of 14/1,000 and 7.06/1,000 respectively.
Both poverty and pollution are important factors which have influenced the government of mainland China in their controversial one-child policy. Pollution is an important issue which influences the carrying capacity of the Chinese state. Accordingly, it is estimated that nearly 500 million people in China lack access to safe drinking water. Furthermore, pollution has made cancer China’s leading cause of death and 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China. Lastly, the World Bank reports that “750,000 people died prematurely every year in China from pollution-related disease”.
These environmental factors, coupled with the largest population on the planet, have paved the way for China’s controversial One Child Policy. Accordingly, this is seen by many outside observers as a harmful policy with very negative consequences for the people of China. It is argued that this policy results in forced skewed birth rates, with more boys born than girls, and leads to infanticide – the killing of a child – as well as government-forced sterilizations of women.
This extreme policy is reputedly undertaken for population control and twenty years after its implementation, the government of China reported that “the policy was a great success, preventing at least 250 million births since 1980” (“China Steps Up” 2000) WORKS CITED “China's Child Fines 'Spark Riot'”. British Broadcasting Corporation. 21 May 2007. Last Accessed October 13 2009 “China Steps Up 'One Child' Policy”. British Broadcasting Corporation. 25 September, 2000. Last Accessed October 13 2009 Roopnarine, J.L. & Gielen, U.P. Families in Global Perspective.
Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2005. Toy, M-A. Pollution facts suppressed by China. Sydney Morning Herald, September 22, 2007. Last Accessed October 13 2009, http: //www. smh. com. au/news/world/pollution-facts-suppressed-by-china-pollution-facts-suppressed-bychina/2007/07/05/1183351302562.html