family planning


family planning
Family planning contradicts deep-rooted ideals among the Chinese, especially those in the countryside, who believe in large families and many sons. The concept of family planning was first advocated by some intellectuals after 1953, when the first census under the PRC reported a surprisingly large count of 588 million. Ma Yin Chu, then president of Peking University, was one of the supporters of family planning, arguing that rapid population growth slowed economic development. Mao, on the other hand, emphasized the productive contributions of the population rather than their consumption needs. His statements, ‘of all things in the world, people are the most precious’ and ‘every mouth comes with two hands attached’, among others, promoted pronatalist thoughts and behaviour. Family planning was labelled Malthusian and bourgeois, and accordingly Ma and others that advocated it were persecuted.
During the early 1960s, birth rates skyrocketed, alarming demographers and others. Yet the leftist political climate (e.g. the Cultural Revolution) rendered any large-scale attempts at family planning impossible. In the early 1970s, the total fertility rate (average number of children per woman) stood at 5.8. The notion that economic growth was seriously undermined by rapid population growth finally found acceptance among policy-makers, so that the ‘late, sparse, few’ (wan xi shao) campaign was introduced. It was a voluntary programme emphasizing late marriage, increasing birth parity, and fewer births in general. The programme was so successful that by the end of the decade the total fertility rate had declined to 2.8.
In 1979, however, policy-makers decided to launch a more aggressive birth-control programme, namely, the one-child policy.
Their rationale was twofold. First, the economic reforms that began in the late 1970s aimed at boosting China’s economic growth in order for the nation to catch up with the rest of the world. A further reduction of population growth would be conducive to achieving this goal. Second, the 1960s baby-boomers were reaching childbearing age during the 1980s. An aggressive birth-control policy was therefore seen as necessary to offset this demographic momentum. Thus, an incentive and penalty system was implemented and cadres throughout the administrative hierarchy, including those at neighbourhood and village levels, were mobilized to enforce the policy. Contraceptives are made widely and easily available; women violating the policy are under pressure for abortion and x sterilization; and girl infanticide and underreporting are believed to be a response to the policy. The one-child policy is more relaxed in the countryside and among minorities. Currently, the total fertility rate for the nation as a whole is 1.8.
Davis, Deborah and Harrell, Stevan (eds) (1993). Chinese Families in the Post-Mao Era. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Ten, H.Yuan (1991). China’s Strategic Demographic Initiative. New York: Praeger.
Poston, Dudley L., Chang, Chiung-Fang, McKibben, Sherry L., Walther, Carol S. and Lee, Che-Fu (eds) (2004). Fertility, Family Planning and Population Control in China. London: Routledge.
White, Tyrene (1994). ‘The Origins of China’s Birth Planning Policy’. In Christina Gilmartin, Gail Hershatter, Lisa Rofel and Tyrene White (eds), Engendering China: Women, Culture, and the State. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 250–78.
C.CINDY FAN

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • family planning — n [U] the practice of controlling the number of children that are born by using ↑contraception ▪ a family planning clinic …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • family planning — noun uncount the practice of controlling the number of children that you have by using CONTRACEPTIVES (=drugs, objects, or methods that stop a woman from becoming pregnant): a family planning clinic …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • family planning — plan iŋ n planning intended to determine the number and spacing of one s children through effective methods of birth control * * * 1. the use of contraception to limit or space out the numbers of children born to a couple. 2. provision of… …   Medical dictionary

  • family planning — ► NOUN ▪ the control of the number of children in a family and the intervals between their births by means of contraception …   English terms dictionary

  • family planning — n. the regulation, as by birth control methods, of the number, spacing, etc. of children that a family will have …   English World dictionary

  • Family planning — [http://www.who.int/topics/family planning/en/ WHO | Family planning ] ] . Family planning is sometimes used as a synonym for the use of birth control, though it often includes more.It is most usually applied to the circumstance of a monogamous… …   Wikipedia

  • family planning — noun limiting the number of children born (Freq. 6) • Syn: ↑birth control, ↑birth prevention • Hypernyms: ↑planning • Hyponyms: ↑coitus interruptus, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • family planning — 1. the concept or a program of limiting the size of families through the spacing or prevention of pregnancies, esp. for economic reasons. 2. (loosely) birth control. [1935 40] * * * Use of measures designed to regulate the number and spacing of… …   Universalium

  • family planning — N UNCOUNT: oft N n Family planning is the practice of using contraception to control the number of children you have. ...a family planning clinic …   English dictionary

  • family planning —    contraception    This standard English use denotes the reversal of planning a family for most people most of the time. In many compounds, such as family planning requisites, contraceptives …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms


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