This was a slogan which echoed throughout China in the early 70s.
In an effort to curb population growth, families were encouraged to delay marriage, have fewer children and increase the number of years between children.
At this time, it was not exactly clear whether China's problems could simply be pinned on to a population boom, or to the ill-effects of Mao's Great Leap Forward program. Either way, blaming the resulting widespread food shortages on having too many mouths to feed was easier than admitting to mistakes in economic planning.
What started out as a voluntary family planning program produced the desired results. In the first half of the 70s, the fertility rate took a deep dive. However, the figures were still alarmingly high. When Deng Xiaoping came to power upon Mao's death in 1976, he inherited a country that was still plagued by hunger and poverty. Deng resolved to transform his China into an economic success story, and one sure way yo achieve it was to control the population.
By 1980, the One Child Policy in China was made mandatory. Again, it was immediately successful. But now, 25 years or one generation later, China is faced with another problem: a rapidly dwindling labor force and an even faster-growing ageing population.
China's leadership is again in a state of worry. The estimate is that by 2050, senior citizens will account for 35% of the country's population. And so the One Child Policy has been repealed, families are encouraged to have two children, but the response is not as eager as the Communist Party would like for it to be. Cost of living has skyrocketed throughout most of the country, life expectancy has increased, and the burden for married couples to support four senior citizens per family has become too heavy.
Are the proposed changes now coming too late, too long, too few?
Photo documentary by Dana Cosio-Mercado (Hits: 9002)
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