Monday, September 13, 2010

Kill A Sparrow and One Child Policy - Dejavu?

Last few days the Chinese blogosphere was full of articles speculating that China is going to gradually abolish its one-child policy starting the pilot in five provinces from the next year.

Others received these news more sceptically. Actually, it's not the first time that similar rumors are spread in media and quickly refuted by government officials.

Well - we will not have to wait for too long to see the results. Anyway, I wanted to look at the problem of one-child-policy from a different angle. 

Recently I stumbled upon a Wikipedia article about the "Kill a sparrow campaign" which took place in China during 1958-1962. Its goal was to exterminate sparrows in the countryside in order to decrease the losses of crops harvest.

But it seems that people are punished when they are questioning the wisdom of Nature:

Initially, the campaign did improve the harvest. By April 1960 the National Academy of Science found that sparrows ate insects more than seeds. Mao declared "forget it", and ordered the end of the campaign against sparrows. By this time, however, it was too late. With no sparrows to eat them, locust populations ballooned, swarming the country and compounding the problems already caused by the Great Leap Forward and adverse weather conditions, leading to the Great Chinese Famine in which around 30 million people died of starvation.

Don't you think that One Child Policy is another "ambitious" attempt to put Mother Nature on her knees? If so - I really fear what kind of punishment we will get this time. Some problems already begin to surface: the gender imbalance when there are noticeably more males of marriageable age than females; and quickly ageing population which will become a heavy economical burden in the near future.

Fortunately, people are not so willing to cooperate as in the case of Great Sparrow Campaign. Parents hide babies to avoid heavy fines and other sanctions. This is the reason why in 1990, the national census recorded 23 million births. But by the 2000 census, there were 26 million ten-year-old children, an increase of three million. 

But Beijing officials don't give up. Babies that will not be registered by 1st of November face will be stripped of citizenship.

I don't know how long will the one child policy (with its forced sterilization and late-term abortion) continue - but I am sure that the sooner it ends the better. 


  1. I think with their infinite wisdom the party will abolish the One Child Policy and introduce the One Grandparent Policy whereby you get to select one grandparent for survival while the others are quietly euthanised. So, pretty soon there will be a great campaign which will rival the Four Pests Campaign in both practicality and wisdom - it's time to put those elderly relatives on a balance sheet and decide who you want to keep around for a while!