Population Control and its Effect on Women

By Shawn Hester, University of Southern Mississippi

In today’s western society there is an obsession with being in control. Men feel they have to be in control of almost every situation that is possible. Women feel that they aren’t given enough opportunities to be in control. What about societies outside of western society? In certain countries, control has become almost nonexistent outside of government.
Governments in some countries take control to another level for certain reasons. In China, the government has had to put population control laws into affect. China has the largest population of any single country in the world. With the population in China nearing 1.5 billion people. China’s communist government instituted population control laws that have allowed families to only have one child in order to slow the population growth.
During these population controls, there are certain issues that have risen to the surface. Issues such as a male imbalance are developing because of the popular need to have a boy. Stories have circulated about the Chinese government forcing women with only one child to have an abortion or threaten them with death. Married women in China live in fear. A fear that if they have a female child, the government might send its police force to try and kill the baby because of the need of males for a male dominated society. Not only are women mistreated, but infants alone are being murdered because of the population control problem. Infant female babies are found dead on the side of a road. Population control seems to have gone down a dark path with many horrifying ends.
“For one year, starting in August 1956, vigorous propaganda support was given to the Ministry of Public Health’s mass birth control efforts. In 1972 and 1973 the party mobilized its resources for a nationwide birth control campaign administered by a group in the State Council. Since 1979 the government has advocated a one child limit for both rural and urban areas and has generally set a maximum of two children in special circumstances. The one-child policy enjoyed much greater success in urban than in rural areas. Observers suggested that an accurate assessment of the one child program would not be possible until all women who came of childbearing age in the early 1980s passed their fertile years. As of 1987 the one-child program had achieved mixed results. In general, it was very successful in almost all urban areas but less successful in rural areas.” (Population Controls Programs. Library of Congress.) As early as the mid 1950’s, women were encouraged to not have kids. In a country where the citizens of a country listen to the government very closely, women were held back. In the 1980’s, women were told that they could only have one child regardless of what they wanted. If a woman wanted to have a boy and she had a girl, she was told by her government that she wasn’t allowed to have another. In a male dominated society, women were pressured to have a male child. In an article on CBCNews, it explains to us the male child situation.
Upon review, China has decided to uphold its one-child policy to keep its population in check, even as the country’s traditional preference for sons continues to eclipse the stagnating rate of female births. The minister of family planning acknowledged the strict policy has accelerated China’s gender gap, but said the government chose to maintain the current policy to slow an expected population spike in coming years. By the latest numbers, 118 boys were born for every 100 girls in 2005, minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission Zhang Weiqing said. The figure has reached as high as 130 boys for every 100 girls in some regions. (CBC News)
From this, we can see that male’s are needed to carry on the name of a family which would explain why women want to have male children. It is almost as though the government wants a male separation because of the need to keep family names. This issue also brings up other problems with the Chinese population control. Once again, male superiority is the main topic cause different branch problems. One problem that the need for a male child has cause is the rise in abortions. In America, women use ultrasounds to determine the sex of their baby. In China, there are different uses for this piece of technology. Gary Bauer lets us know there is a different use for ultrasound in “Red China Using Ultrasound to Kill Girls. He says,
…”ultrasound technology functions as the means to a much different end. Because of the Communist government’s brutal 25-year-old one-child policy, and since boys are considered more valuable than girls–as they carry on the family name and are expected to care for aging parents–ultrasound machines are employed to determine the sex of the baby. Then, if the baby is a gift, abort her. Chinese communism, on the other hand, values efficiency and utility. Infanticide was historically a very common way of getting rid of unwanted children in China, and because many die young, Chinese children are sometimes not even given a name until they reach their first birthday. Naming them would be too humanizing. In China, sex-selective abortions are so widespread that the government is now concerned about a devastating gender imbalance. In some regions, 140 boys are born for every. I (K) girls. Yet, despite this demographic disaster, the Chinese government continues to persecute women who exceed their quota of children (usually one child). Some women are imprisoned, tortured or forcibly sterilized.” (Red China Using Ultrasound to Kill Girls.)
China as put such an emphasis on male babies, the female population will eventually be down to nothing. This shows females hold a very low status in society because they can’t simply choose which sex they want their child to be. Women are not only forced to choose a male child over a female, but they are basically lucky to be alive. Female babies in China are being looked at as less than human. The Chinese government has been known to go around to houses that has more than one child and made the father of the household kill their own child. A women named Shanam Saini, tells her account of visiting in China. Her account tells us of the horrors of China and its infanticide.
A newborn girl, her naked body still warm, lies dead in the gutter alongside a road in a small town in Hunan province. She clearly has been dumped and has just died. On their way to work most passersby ignore the child. Some stop to stare and then walk on. Life goes on as normal. Eventually an elderly man puts the tiny body into a box and carries it away. In China, the main cause of infanticide is government regulations. Only one child per couple in cities is permissible and two in the countryside if they are born at least three years apart. Traditionally, males are more significant in China because they are expected to support their parents, as a type of insurance policy that will abet their parents in old age. Females do not have the same usefulness, so, therefore, to eschew paying fines to the government, parents kill their female offspring. The impact is great. (Born To Die)
This gruesome picture of a baby lying in a ditch on the side of the road gives us a small idea of what obstacles and challenges women in China must overcome. In this country, if this were the case, there would be an immediate uprising. Women living in a communist government who is trying to control the population of its country are going to have almost no say so and no right in which to act upon their beliefs. The article was titled “Born to Die”, which alone gives us an idea of what females in this country are up against.
The communist Chinese government has put together a force of police that go out and take the babies from people who have more than what they are allowed to have. People in china have labeled these police the “womb police.” One United Kingdom reporter went into China to deal with a story that was unique. She tells the story of one woman who was digging through trash when the police came to take her fourth child from them. “Despite her padded peasant clothes, Zhang’s bulge betrayed her guilt. She was pregnant again, with another “out of quota” child, and this one would have to be terminated.” (John Mark Ministries) The reporter then goes on to talk about how they brought her to a hospital to have a mandatory abortion that she wouldn’t be able to refuse.”… nurses penetrated her womb with a long needle, and injected a saline solution to induce a stillbirth.” (John Mark Ministries) The saline solution didn’t kill the baby and the baby was delivered. The nurses refused to show the married couple even as they begged but the husband managed to grab a quick peek of the baby. The husband said, “”I saw her and she looked healthy, but when I asked them to bring her back, they told me there was an order not to give us the baby.” (John Mark Ministries) When the mother asked about the healthy baby the nurse told her, “She’s had the drug, so even if she’s not dead, she’ll be retarded.”
When they returned back to the hospital to check on the status of their baby, they learned that the director ordered to have the baby freeze to by “wrapped in a gauze cloth, on the open balcony outside the abortion room.” The nurse who put her out on the ledge eventually couldn’t stand the torture of hearing the baby screaming in the snow outside and brought her back inside. On May 12, the baby was returned to the parents after a journalist called the police and made sure the baby was rightfully given to them after this gruesome case. “Ji had shrunk from 2.5kg at birth to just 1kg. Her skin was loose, her bellybutton leaked, but she was home with her brothers, aged 11, nine and four. Departing from Chinese tradition, Ji was given neither of her parents’ family names. “Without the journalists, she would have died,” explains her father. (John Mark Ministries) In some cases, the baby isn’t returned to their parents. A baby was left at a Province with a note attached to it. It said, “Due to the current political situation and heavy pressures that are too difficult to explain, we, who were her parents for these first days, cannot continue taking care of her.” The political situation didn’t allow these parents to keep their child because they had already has one. This simple story here shows the length of trouble the Chinese government was willing to go from keeping this baby from her family. After I read this essay, I realized what little standing the women in China had with their society. A baby girl was going to be literally frozen to death simply because she was a girl. The government had allowed the other two sons to live but when the mother was going to have a girl they had to draw the line somewhere and were going to have the baby terminated. Population for the Chinese has started to become a huge concern not only for the country itself, but the other that border China. When the population control first came about, I believe it was to halt the population of males and females. Eventually, the government realized the importance of a male child in the family to carry on the family name. The male child was also expected to work for a living and provide for his parents when they got older. Why can’t a female do this? Obviously it comes down to the communist government seeing the “importance” in male children in their society. As you can see in the overwhelming ratio of male to female, the men are starting to take over. What happens when there are so few women, that all the men run to them and eventually a society will end? I can understand the need to control the population but it is nearly impossible to stop woman from having kids. You can try to control the population but it doesn’t need to include the death of innocent young babies, especially female babies. The Chinese government thinks they are doing the right thing. You have to wonder, if what they are doing is right, why is there so much debate and arguing of this situation?

Works Cited
• Born to Die; Shanam Saini. Humanist Jul/Aug2002, Vol. 62 Issue 4, p25, 3p. ©2006. http://lynx.lib.usm.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=6858262&site=ehost-live • China’s Population Control Trumps Boy Imbalance: CBC News. CBC: © 2008. http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2007/01/23/china-births-070123.html
• China’s Slaughter of Innocents. Wilson Quarterly. Summer96, Vol. 20 Issue 3, p135, 2p
• Population Control Programs: U.S Library of Congress. ©2008. http://countrystudies.us/china/34.htm • Red China Using Ultrasound to Kill Girls: Gary Bauer. Human Events; 6/20/2005, Vol. 61 Issue 21, p16-16, 1/2p, 1bw. http://lynx.lib.usm.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=17384147&site=ehost-live • The Baby Girl Chinese Population Control Police Couldn’t Kill; UK Independent. September 24, 2001. ©John Mark Industires.


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