China and India face a demographic crisis — a severe gender imbalance in their population. The Washington Post recently reported that men outnumber women by 70 million in these two countries. This manmade disaster is the result of population engineering driven by a combination of cultural preference, government policies, and technology.
I cannot speak for India, but I know only too well how China reached this crisis point, because I almost never made it to this world due to China’s notorious one-child policy.
How China Started Its One-Child Policy
For thousands of years, China didn’t have a population policy. Traditional Chinese culture believes that having many children is a blessing from heaven. Even after Communists took over China in 1949, Chairman Mao continued to encourage Chinese women to have as many babies as possible, because more babies meant more future foot-soldiers for his Communist Revolution. Under his rule, China’s population grew from 660 million in 1961 (after the Chinese famine) to 930 million in 1976.
When Mao passed away in 1976, he left China in such economic shambles that China’s per capita GDP was merely $162, only slightly better than Bangladesh ($142) but worse than Afghanistan ($200). Chinese leaders believed China’s economy couldn’t support a population any larger. By 1979, China’s population grew to 980 million and Chinese leaders decided to implement the one-child policy in order to curb population growth.
My Own Story
Before China implemented the one-child policy, my mother discovered that she was pregnant with me. She was a doctor so she knew the one-child policy was coming. Since she had already had two children (my brother and sister), colleagues and supervisors pressured her to get an abortion so she could be a good role model for other women. At this crucial moment, my grandma lent mom the emotional support she needed.
Grandma was farmer and she lived in a village for most of her life. She had very little education, so other than her own name, she couldn’t read or write anything. She couldn’t be more ordinary, and yet, she had an extraordinary grasp of common sense. When grandma heard about my mother’s pregnancy and the pressures she faced, grandma travelled all the way from her village to the city where my parents lived just to tell my mother, no matter how hard life is, a child is a blessing from heaven; a new life brings new hope. It was the strength of both women that saved my life.
After my grandma passed away in 2003, we finally discovered she was a devoted Christian and had been an active member of an underground church for years. She kept it a secret from us because she didn’t want us to get in trouble with the government.
Carried Out By Force And Inhuman Practices
I was one of the few lucky ones. Like many other things under a totalitarian regime, the one-child policy was carried out from top down through excessive use of force and inhuman practices. From the time the one-child policy was implemented in 1979 to 2015 when the Chinese government relaxed the policy, only God knows how many babies were forcibly aborted and how many mothers suffered unmentionable agony.
Even as recently as 2011 when I last visited China, my friend told me that one of her colleagues was eight months pregnant with her second child and was caught by the family-planning enforcers. They dragged her to the local hospital and aborted her child, a boy. She took one look at the lifeless fetus and went crazy.
Besides forced abortion, other inhuman practices include forcing married couples who already had a child to undergo sterilization surgeries; families who got caught with a 2nd child faced hefty fines (thousands of dollars) and their extra kids wouldn’t qualify for food rations nor could they attend public schools.
In the early years before ultrasound technology was widely available, both male and female fetuses were aborted. Later when ultrasound technology had become widely available, more female than male fetuses were aborted and if the female fetuses somehow managed to be born, they were often abandoned due to the traditional Chinese culture’s preference for a male heir. Such female infant abandonment happened more commonly in the countryside than in cities.
Chinese People And Society Suffer The Consequences
The Chinese government finally relaxed the one-child policy in 2015 by telling the Chinese people, “now you are allowed to have two kids.” The Chinese government didn’t make this change out of any benevolence towards its people, but out of cold calculation of statistics: China’s working age population is shrinking and there is a huge gender imbalance. All are directly caused by the 35-year-old one-child policy.
As TheWashington Post pointed out, there are nearly 34 million more males than females in China. The consequences of having too many men is far-reaching:
- Among men, loneliness and depression are widespread because they may never find a wife and rarely have sex.
- Bachelors are furiously building houses in China to attract wives, and prices are soaring. But otherwise they are not spending, and that in turn fuels China’s huge trade surplus.
- Human trafficking of brides is on the rise. Foreign women are being recruited and lured to China, effectively creating similar gender imbalances in some of China’s poorer neighbors such as Vietnam and Cambodia. In 2017, the U.S. State Department listed China as one of the worst offenders of human trafficking.
- Public Safety and social unrest — sexual crimes against women are on the rise. Due to tight government control, crime data in China is hard to come by. India, which faces a similar gender imbalance to China, has seen several national wide protests about sexual crimes against women in recent years. The most recent one was in response to an 8-year-old girl being kidnapped, gang raped by six Hindus for seven days and then brutally murdered.
Facing all these challenges, the Chinese government was forced to make a policy change. But many demographers have already said, the so called “two-child” policy is too little too late. With a growing economy and more opportunities for women, many Chinese women voluntarily choose to have just one child nowadays.
Warning For The West
Despite the terrible consequences China and India are experiencing, some in the West continue to advocate for population engineering under different covers and for various causes. Some say population engineering is a necessary means to fight back climate change. They declare:
Contrary to political and philosophical consensus, we argue that the threats posed by climate change justify population engineering, the intentional manipulation of the size and structure of human populations … We will identify four types of practices and policies (henceforth simply ‘interventions’) that could effectively reduce human fertility rates: (1) clearly non-coercive choice-enhancing interventions; (2) possibly coercive preference-adjusting interventions; (3) possibly coercive incentivizing interventions; and (4) clearly coercive interventions.
No one should be fooled that the coercive interventions in this context refers to forced sterilization and abortion. The supporters of this approach forget to mention that the richest 10 percent of people produce about half of fossil-fuel emissions, making it hard to argue that emissions are caused by over-population.
Another population engineering method sweeping through the U.S. and Europe is to abort babies with Down Syndrome. The U.S. has an estimated termination rate for Down syndrome of 67 percent (1995-2011); the UK of 90 percent, France of 77 percent (2015); Denmark of 98 percent (2015), and Iceland of 100 percent (today). Masked as a quality of life choice for women, the abortion of babies with Down Syndrome echoes the Nazi’s eugenics practice to remove the perceived weak and subhuman among us, even though many people who have Down Syndrome today live a full and quality life.
Karen Gaffeny, an American woman with Down Syndrome who successfully swam the English channel, gave an inspiring TED talk, in which she said: “I believe Down syndrome is a life worth saying yes to. Every life matters regardless of the number of chromosomes we have. ”
No government, no interest groups and no individual should have the moral authority to decide whose life is less worthy and thus should be terminated. The lesson from China and India is that population engineering is dangerous and immoral. It will take decades for the societies who practice it to face the enormous negative consequences. Once the damage is done, it will be very difficult to make it right.