A few facts you should know about ‘One-child policy’ in China

‘Human rights’ seems always a sensitive topic in China, while every 10th of December is a ‘sensitive’ day in China as well.

In China, ‘human rights’ always bind with political issues, though cultural revolution can be discussed in the public nowadays, ‘Tiananmen Square 1989’ is still a forbidden topic to raise among Chinese.

There are certain things people seems really interested in about China refer to human rights. One is the ‘one child policy’, another one is the censorship in media. I will talk about ‘one child policy’ in this article first.


One child policy started in 1979 and terminated by the end of 2015.

Ethnic minorities were exempt. As people might know, Han is the ethnic majority in China, according to the ‘Tabulation of the 2010 Census of the People’s Republic of China’, about 91.51% of the population are Han. If Han married to any ethnic minorities, they were not affected by the policy, not to mention those who married foreigners.

Certain exceptions were exempt. That couple whose first child has disabilities or suffer from certain diseases.

If the couple is both the only child in their family, they are allowed to have two children.


Above are some facts you can find on the documents, as a matter of fact, one child policy was varied from place to place.

There is a saying in China ‘the emperor is far away as the sky’ which means one may do whatever he pleases without fear of the interference.

I was born and raised in the city centre from northeast of China, when I was in the primary school, all my classmates were the only child in their family. While my high school was located at the border of the urban city and rural area. That was my first time to have classmates who have siblings. Turns out, they can have siblings if their parents’ first child was a girl.


I happened to met someone who is the similar age with me from south-east of China which is Guangdong province, to my surprise, she has 5 siblings, not only her family, but all families in her villages have more than 3 children. As far as I know, they are neither ethnic minorities nor exceptions.

There were some news reports about heavily pregnant women been forced to do abortion which I felt unbelievable and so brutal, but the truth is ‘one child policy’ was not extremely strict everywhere. Of course, if you are rich enough to pay the fine, you could act like the famous filmmaker Zhang Yimou to have as many as you want.

Though one child policy now becomes history, under the new policy, Chinese still cannot decide how many children they want which sounds quite pathetic. But for some reasons, I could understand.


Many rural areas in China, even in well-developed areas, families still value boys over girls, as I mentioned before, the one I know from Guangdong province who has 5 siblings which are 4 sisters and the youngest brother. Those families might raise girls just like child labours or a product, as when the girl get married in China, the bride family will get money from the groom sides normally.

Moreover, China is still really poor, yes, you might find lots of Chinese are purchasing luxury stuff or come abroad to study, they are the lucky ones. In order to feed 1.3 billion people is not a small issue. Without agricultural scientist Yuan Longping’s development of hybrid rice, Chinese might still suffer from starving.

I do not want to find excuses for the poor human rights situation in China, but at least people should know some facts that should not be ignored.


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