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Well, the most obvious country to select when discussing population control policies and their long-term impact on society is the People's Republic of China. While the former Soviet Union, concerned about the long-term ramifications of a diminishing population of Russians, as opposed to the hundreds of other ethnicities that comprised that vast empire, encouraged large families, including designating mothers with more than ten children "Mother Heroines," the government of China, ruled since 1949 by the Communist Party, has long sought to find ways to limit the growth of its majority Han population. China has experienced astronomical population growth over the past half-century, reaching its current number of 1.3 billion, rivaled only by India. Because of concerns about population control, the Chinese Communist Party imposed a one-child per family restriction on Han Chinese families. This policy remained in place until October 2015, when it was finally abolished for the reasons discussed below.
China's is an ancient culture, one of the oldest in the world. Like many countries, it has had an unfortunate bias towards males, with females limited in opportunities. Though this cultural bias had been gradually addressed with respect to professional opportunities for women, it remained dominant among lesser-educated rural Chinese, who greatly valued male children over female children. The consequence of the one-child policy, therefore, was to encourage the further devaluation of females to males, with female babies becoming sadly expendable. This explains the prevalence of female Chinese babies adopted by American families over the past 20 years. Chinese couples who gave birth to girls immediately placed those babies up for foreign adoption, hoping to hold-out for the subsequent birth of a boy. Over the years, this practice gave rise to an enormous demographic imbalance between the genders, with males vastly outnumbering females. This development has not only impacted the future of China’s population balance – in effect, too many males and not enough females, thereby complicating the government’s desire to ensure ethnic Chinese population growth – but it has thrown into doubt the Communist Party’s ability to ensure a sufficient future work force needed to facilitate the level of economic growth necessary to keep the country from stagnating. Economic stagnation would result in social instability, as millions of un- and underemployed Chinese youth would be pretty unhappy and rebellious, a development profoundly worrisome to a regime paranoid about social instability.
So, in short, China’s policy of limiting Han Chinese families to one child, while viewed for decades as essential to prevent resource-straining levels of overpopulation, has proven detrimental to the country’s future economic growth.
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