This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Monday, June 24, 2013

How to Overhaul the One-Child Policy: A Chinese Perspective

Readers of this blog know that my younger son is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Today he was entertaining a delegation from China and it turns out that one of the delegates recently published a paper discussing her thoughts about how to overhaul her country's One-Child Policy. She is Yijia Jing and is Professor and Associate Dean of the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University in Shanghai. Her paper appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis & Management. Since you can't read this without a subscription, I am going to list some of the highlights here:
A first adjustment is to fundamentally change the missions of population policy. Since the 1970s, China’s population policy has developed a narrow focus on birth control that has become increasingly separate from the vastly different socioeconomic realities. New population policy should put people first by shifting its focus from control to development and from regulation to service. Population policy should first aim to improve the lives of citizens physically, mentally, and intellectually, and to meet their demands for both basic rights and a capacity to compete in the global arena. It should helpmaintain social morale and solidarity by coping with the serious imbalances in age, gender, and other aspects. Further, population policy should also helpmaintain China’s economic momentum and sustainability in a time of economic restructuring and low fertility by keeping the population rate steady. It is important to avoid population problems bringing China into the middle-income trap. 
The corresponding important [second] adjustment is to embrace a two-child policy. Despite the worry of “population rebound,” a two-child policy will not significantly spur population growth as the policy-driven sharp drop in fertility rate hides the accompanying decrease in fertility desire.
The third adjustment is to improve the decision-making and implementation of the new population policy. Being related to the fundamental welfare and happiness of every citizen, public participation in policy debates and formulation should be encouraged, and a consensus of citizens should be reached.
These "overhauls" seem enlightened to me and, since they are coming from inside China, rather than from the outside, we can only hope that they might gain some traction.




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