Recently, China ended its One-Child policy and started to carry out a new Two-Child Policy, which allows couples to give birth to their first two children. The One-Child policy was proposed in 1978 to ensure that the Chinese economy would not be affected by population growth. Chinese people were accustomed to the old policy, and the release of the new one seemed to astonish many Chinese families. People began to discuss whether this policy is actually helpful. While many regard the policy as good news since it provides people with more freedom and rights, others are opposed to it because it further increases economic and familial burdens. This essay will contend with the latter view, underscoring that the policy fails to consider the real economic condition of most Chinese families, especially mothers.
The new policy does not consider the dire economic condition of some Chinese families, whom cannot afford a second child. China is a developing country, but the living cost is fairly high, especially for those living in large cities like Beijing. Based on a New York Times interview with a middle-class family in Beijing, the total salary earned by a couple is about $3,900 a month, yet private kindergartens typically cost at least $630 a month. Since Chinese parents care about their child’s education, they are often willing to spend as much as they can to have their child receive the best education starting from kindergarten. In this way, one child’s education fee already consumes a large part of a family’s budget; educating two children would place a severe burden on that family. “I do know people with more than one child,” complained a Chinese mother, “Even three. But they are very rich” (Tatlow). This interview reveals that, even if they wanted to, most families would be unable to enjoy the right provided by the new policy.
The new policy is intended to benefit families because it offers them more freedom to choose the number of children they want to have. It also provides the “lonely child” with a chance to have a sibling that could improve their childhood, should the family can assume the financial and emotional cost of that second child. However, the option of having a second child is feasible only for a small number of economically mobile Chinese families. It is difficult to think the new policy will achieve its aim without accounting for the economic and familial factors that exist in China today.
Tatlow, Didi Kirsten. “Costs, Not Just Law, Deterred Chinese Couples From Another Child.” The New York Times, October 30, 2015. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.