China will ease its one-child policy that paved the way for the world’s largest abortion industry, spiking numbers of rape, human trafficking and baby girls left to the elements to die.
The policy was implemented in 1980 to prevent the world’s largest population from growing too big. The ramifications of such a totalitarian restriction on life might have been predictable, but weren’t immediately visible until this most recent generation, when China found itself with 50 million more men than women. The ruling Communist party cited demographic discrepancies as the reason behind the decision, but the societal problems from the cap go well beyond that.
People have responsibility to provide for both their parents and children during their working-aged years, which makes a boy much more desirable due to expanded career opportunities. Numbers show that 120 males are born per 100 females — by far the most skewed ratio in the world.
The one-child policy has created a huge industry for abortions in the country. More than 13 million abortions are recorded each year, which doesn’t account for the black market. Nine out of 10 women who had premarital sex reported that they’ve had at least one abortion, according to the Institute of Population Research at Peking University. The government has had limited success in preventing sex testing during pregnancies in order to boost the number of females born.
Human rights organizations have exposed government practices of forced abortions and sterilization of men after they’ve had one child. Forced procedures are technically illegal and legislation states that fines should be imposed for parents going above their cap, but they happen nonetheless.
Millions of female births have gone unreported as parents kill new-born children or abandon them on the side of the road. The skewed ratio has also left frustrated men to die single, which was has also caused a spike in sexual assaults.
China has relaxed the policy gradually over the past decade, with exceptions for people without siblings to have two children. Wang Feng, a Chinese demographic expert, told Reuters the new policy won’t solve the problem of the aging population in the short-term, but will have positive effects in the long run.
“It’s an event that we have been waiting for for a generation, but it is one we have had to wait much too long for,” Wang said. “It won’t have any impact on the issue of the aging society, but it will change the character of many young families.”
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