Mixed feelings 30 years after China`s one-child policy

As China observed the 30th anniversary of the one-child policy, citizens are still in two minds.

Updated: Sep 25, 2010, 18:14 PM IST

Beijing: As China Saturday observed the 30th anniversary of the one-child policy, citizens are still in two minds -- some believe it suited China at that time with a huge and uncontrolled population, while others think a single child has to face varied societal problems.

"Fewer children, better life" was the slogan coined by the country`s family planning policy makers 30 years ago.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee had issued a letter Sep 25, 1980, calling for families to have only one child in a bid to improve lives.

The letter said more children would consume more money and food and hinder the improvement of living standards and affect the country`s "accumulation of funds" for its modernisation.

The one-child policy, however, did not cover ethnic minorities and farmers whose first child was a girl. Moreover, in some regions couples who were themselves both only children were exempted from the policy.

Xia Haiyong, director of the Institute for Population Research at Nanjing University, said about 400 million births were prevented after the implementation of the policy, which has contributed to the increase of the country`s gross domestic product (GDP).

Less population also means more educational opportunities, officials say.

Latest statistics show people above 15 years of age receive an average of 8.3 years of schooling, higher than the average level for most developing countries.

Song Yueqin, director of the family planning bureau in Jintan, said in the past persuading people not to have more children was "extremely difficult" as people would "go through the back door" to secure a birth quota. Some even went abroad to give birth.

Many people found it difficult to adjust to the one-child policy.

He Weiqiong, 52, from Guangdong Province said the one-child policy appears to be two sides of a coin.

On one side, it suited the national situation at that time, as China had a huge and uncontrolled population expansion, but on the other side, a single child "may feel lonely" and the elderly "might be more happy if they see many children and grandchildren sit together and carry on the family line".

He had a family reunion with her two bothers and a sister to celebrate the mid-autumn festival.

He`s 28-year-old daughter, like most of her contemporaries, is an only child as her family was not affluent enough in the 1980s when she was born.

Though her daughter`s education and quality of life was ensured and she was also married to a single child, the couple would later apparently find it difficult to take care of their four parents and in-laws when they are busy with work, He said.

He asked lawmakers to promote community-based care for the aged as the pressure on only children means they may not have enough time to care for their old parents.

IANS