Late last week, China’s Communist party announced the end of their infamous one-child policy. Clearly, they recognize they have a problem.
Unfortunately, they fail to grasp the root of the issue, which is twisting its way through American culture as well. China merely allowing a couple to have two children instead of one still treats people as a commodity to be regulated, not as a gift to be treasured.
This has very practical consequences in China that are not too far removed from the future of the United States and other Western nations.
In allowing two children per family, Communist officials finally acknowledged what their own researchers have been telling them—they are staring down demographic suicide in terms of generational and gender disparity.
Their swelling elderly population cannot be sustained by a shrinking number of children growing into productive adults.
Jim Savley of Small World Adoption agency is accredited in China and has his largest program there. He says the retiring pensioners require a larger workforce. Currently, they need two workers to every retiree. The simple math shows their current birth rate cannot sustain those who will enter retirement.
But not only do they not have enough children and young adults, specifically they do not have enough women.
With the one-child policy in place, Savley says families would have a sonogram and abort girls in hopes of conceiving a son. Currently, there are 37 million more men than women in China and it’s only going to get worse.
So they’ve made this change in hopes to reverse these trends, but they are missing much larger issues.
Human rights are still be violated.
While it may be portrayed as such by some, this has nothing at all to do with human rights and everything to do with China trying to avoid a demographic catastrophe.
“The Chinese Communist Party has not suddenly developed a conscience or grown a heart,” writes Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, “Even though it will now allow all couples to have a second child, China has not promised to end forced abortion, forced sterilization, or forced contraception.”
Savley compares this to a hostage situation where a terrorist agrees to release half the hostages. Obviously, you rejoice that those lives have been saved, but you continue to work to save the others.
Government cannot immediately change a cultural problem it created.
This is not an acknowledgement of the failure of a communist system. In fact, this demonstrates just how strongly China believes in the power of government. They believe a new policy will avert the crisis.
That won’t solve the real issues, says Savley. For decades, the Chinese have not been breeding children, but the government has bred and encouraged negative cultural attitudes toward women, children and life.
Read this from The Washington Post:
In Hunan, the man whose second child was aborted in 2011 said his wife has had a mental breakdown because of the trauma. About the new policy, he had only one thing to say: “It has come too late.”
You cannot erase an entrenched cultural mindset simply by issuing a government edict or changing a regulation. It will take a broad cultural revival to the inherent value of human life, which brings us to the later point.
Abortion inherently undermines the value of human life.
China is in the situation because they have dismissed the impact of abortion on their culture and their people.
“The policy created a deformed society and cast a shadow in people’s minds: that you can do nothing in the face of state power,” Chen Guangcheng, an escaped human rights lawyer from China, told The Washington Post. “Think about it: People do not even have control over their own body. They cannot even protect their own child.”
Here is a policy that removes any and all choice from a woman. Earlier in The Washington Post story, it describes a seven-month pregnant woman being essentially kidnapped from her home. Despite his pleas, lack of any consent and all medical advice, doctors jammed a needle into her stomach. Here’s what happened next:
Ten hours later, she gave birth to a boy, wriggling and faintly crying. But the doctors in southern Hunan province would not even let her hold the dying infant, the husband said. They put the baby in a plastic bag and instructed him to pay a cleaner a small sum to bury it on a nearby hill.
If you are passionate about women having the ability to make their own reproductive choices, why is ending this type of barbarism in China not your number one priority? These women literally have no choice—especially the poor. Only the wealthy could afford the fines or bribes that come from having a second child.
Search “Cecile Richards China.” You won’t find much from the president of Planned Parenthood condemning China’s forced abortion. In a one paragraph buried statement on their website, the organization says they oppose the Chinese policy (though that’s more complicated than they would like to admit).
But how often do you see the major abortion proponents rallying legislators to do anything about it? How many ardent pro-choice politicians fight against funding to China with the same passion they support funding for Planned Parenthood?
Abortion does not occur in a vacuum. It requires adding ambiguity to issues of human life, personhood and protection that are not there otherwise. It necessitates viewing children and human life only through pragmatic means.
The AP ran a story about how the one-child policy is actually great for Chinese girls … the ones who survive the womb at least. Is it any surprise that when commenting on China’s decision, CNBC reporter Carl Quintanilla tweeted: “One thing about China’s one-child policy: it worked”?
Yes, it did work. But as China is discovering, it worked all too well. The devaluing of human life left in the wake will be all but impossible to reverse. It will certainly be impossible to reverse through mere government edict.
It will take a renewed recognition of the inherent value of human life, but they’ve given no indication of any desire to do that. Unfortunately, too many Americans seem reluctant to learn those lessons as well.