Women’s choice could be main obstacle to China’s 3-child policy

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  天游平台报道,When China introduced its one-child policy in the autumn of 1980, the country was in the midst of an economic revolution.Its policymakers believed they had to shift a rural economy ploughed by millions of China’s sons and daughters into a better-fed and better-educated population in the cities.Now China has 30 million more men than women and a demographic crisis of its own invention.The generations that preceded the one-child policy are growing old. China’s population grew from 540 million in 1949 to 940 million in 1976. Retirement pensions are due and so are the hospital bills. There’s a smaller proportion of workers to pay for them and fewer women to give birth to the next generation of taxpayers. China’s top decision-making body announced on Monday it would raise the number of children allowed per family from its current limit of two to three. It took the step knowing that the two-child policy introduced in 2016 hasn’t had an impact. The fertility rate has remained at 1.3 for five years, well below the replacement rate needed to stop the population shrinking. The one-child experiment transformed China. Big rural families have become small ones dedicated to the success of a single child. A 2016 survey by the government-controlled All-China Women’s Federation found only 21 per cent of women said they would like to have a second child.The cost of living, particularly in Beijing and Shanghai, has surged. House prices jumped by 30 per cent in both cities between 2015 and 2017. In Yanjiao, a small town on the eastern fringes of Beijing, 36-year-old mother Sharon Piao said she would not consider a second child, let alone a third, after quitting her job to care for her baby.“The cost of just having a child is too high, not to mention the cost of raising it. We had to pay tens of thousands of yuan for all kinds of health checks, hospitalisation and maternity care,” she said on Thursday. Her husband has not had steady work recently. “A second child might mean poverty to us. Also, I hope to provide the best to my baby, but with a second, the cost has to be shared,” Piao said. “I’m an outgoing person and love to go out and meet people. But with a baby around, I feel like living in a prison and don’t have time to do what I’d like to.” Lu Pin, a Chinese feminist who now lives in the US, said urban Chinese families had invested in the education of their only-child daughters — with unintended results.“Many young women are consciously choosing not to have children. Not having children is a consequence of women’s empowerment.” A poll by state broadcaster Xinhua on Monday was taken down after almost 29,000 out of 31,000 respondents said they had absolutely no intention of having three children. “I don’t buy a Rolls Royce not because they limit the number of Rolls Royces I can buy,” said one netizen on Weibo. “I want to sell my quota to rich people.”

  Another said: “I myself am a product of the one-child policy. I already have to take care of my parents. Where would I find the energy to raise more than two kids?” Chinese job noticeboards already advertise for men or women who already have children and won’t want any more. One civil service ad in Fujian province said there was “no restriction on males or females” but added: “Females must be unmarried, or married with children, [schedule] won’t interfere with night shifts, age between 18-35.” Another at an insurance company was more specific: “No restriction on men or women [but applicants] married without children will be rejected.” Those who are hired have been made to sign contracts vowing not to get pregnant or agreeing to consult the company before conceiving. Women who breach these obligations can be fined or fired. Liu Yiran, a 34-year-old woman working for an internet company in Beijing, told her boss in May 2017 that she was pregnant, it took less than three months for a new hire to take up her responsibilities. Then the company stopped paying her salary.

 Women’s choice could be main obstacle to China’s 3-child policy

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