I mention these thing in particular because today's NYTimes has a story about a Chinese academic (albeit living in the U.S.)--Dr. Fuxian Li--whose posts criticizing reproductive policies in China have been taken off the web by Chinese authorities. It is not clear what's going on, but it puts the one-child policy and China's low birth rate back in the spotlight.
Today, Dr. Yi, a father of three, believes that most Chinese agree with him that the state should get out of their bedrooms, and are increasingly willing to say so in public.
“Public opinion is firmly on the side of ending family planning policies,” Dr. Yi said, basing his conclusion on the tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of online comments that have now vanished, his public speaking in China, and reactions to the social and statistical research in his book “Big Country With an Empty Nest,” which was published in China in 2013.
There he wrote: “Family planning was born in haste, conducted with violence and will end in equivocation and cover-up.”I agree with all of that, but the article leaves hanging the question of why the birth rate remains low in the face of the government's easing of the one-child policy. The answer, in my view, is that Chinese culture needs to change in the same way that other East Asian and Southern European nations have to change to recognize that a sharing of work at home and out of the home by both mothers and fathers is almost certainly required if the birth rate is to nudge back up closer to replacement level. Getting women out of the home brings down the birth rate to a sustainable level, but wanting them to stay at home once they have "escaped", is what brings it down to very low levels.