Challenging Myths about China’s One-Child Policy

Whyte, Martin King; Feng, Wang; & Cai, Yong. (2015). Challenging Myths about China’s One-Child Policy. The China Journal, 74, 144-59.

Whyte, Martin King; Feng, Wang; & Cai, Yong. (2015). Challenging Myths about China’s One-Child Policy. The China Journal, 74, 144-59.

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China’s controversial one-child policy continues to generate controversy and misinformation. This essay challenges several common myths: that Mao Zedong consistently opposed efforts to limit China’s population growth; that consequently China’s population continued to grow rapidly until after his death; that the launching of the one-child policy in 1980 led to a dramatic decline in China’s fertility rate; and that the imposition of the policy prevented 400 million births. Evidence is presented contradicting each of these claims. Mao Zedong at times forcefully advocated strict limits on births and presided over a major switch to coercive birth planning after 1970; as much as three-quarters of the decline in fertility since 1970 occurred before the launching of the one-child policy; fertility levels fluctuated in China after the policy was launched; and most of the further decline in fertility since 1980 can be attributed to economic development, not coercive enforcement of birth limits.




JOUR



Whyte, Martin King
Feng, Wang
Cai, Yong



2015


The China Journal

74


144-59










9867

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