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Overpopulation is one of the main challenges that affect development in most countries today. Overpopulation refers to a situation characterized by a large number of people with too few resources and too little space at their disposal (Mosher 19). Most economies in the 21st Century have very little resources and poor infrastructure, which cannot support large populations.
Overpopulation leads to several negative effects that include land degradation, pollution, and poor living conditions among others (Wright 100). One country that is currently having difficulties managing its population is China. Studies conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) have established that China is the world’s most populous country.
China has more than 1.3 billion people, which is equivalent to 20% of the global population (Mosher 28). This means that one in every five people in the world lives in China. Despite numerous efforts made by various governments over the years, China is still struggling with the challenge of overpopulation in the 21st Century.
Several years ago, China implemented a number of policies that were meant to regulate the rate at which its population was growing. Although it has not been easy to implement the policies, they have helped in reducing the number of births. However, experts warn that China could be on the verge of facing a new population crisis due to those policies.
Implementation of the policies has led to a situation where there a very few children in comparison to a large number of adult population that is aging quickly (Mosher 50). This means that the government will have a harder time addressing its population issues because the old and sick people will have no one to take care of them.
Overpopulation in China has had a definite impact on the country’s economy, environment, infrastructure development, and the style of governance (Johnson 30). The population crisis in China has become a global issue, owing to the numerous contributions that the country makes towards the activities of the international community. Although the government has tried a number of strategies to address the problem, it is yet to come up with an effective solution that will eliminate the problem completely.
Studies have established that people in overpopulated countries often experience numerous challenges such as inadequate natural resources that are not easily accessible. There is always an inadequate supply of food, water, and energy (Johnson 43). Overpopulation has affected the stability and development of China’s economy because of the high rate of unemployment. In a fast growing population, the number of jobs available decreases as the number of people increases.
According to experts, an overpopulated country often struggles to achieve economic stability when the number of people without employment is very high (Wright 109). In addition, they argue that unemployment leads to the development of social issues such as insecurity.
High rate of unemployment in China has led to an increase in the level of crime across all the quotas. This has influenced the style of governance used in the country. The high rate of crime has led to increase in the cost of supporting police operations, the courts, and running the prisons (Day 201). Studies have established that overpopulation affects the style of governance used, because a country keeps getting into constantly increasing debts in order to provide for the needs of its people.
Overpopulation crisis in China
According to experts, the four major factors that have contributed to overpopulation in China are social, economic, environmental, and security issues. Economic factors have contributed the most to overpopulation population in China. Following the freeing of China’s foreign trade and investments in 1978, the government encouraged its people to venture into business (Mosher 69).
This was geared towards improving the economic stability of the country and ensuring better living standards for everyone. According to experts, the prospect of having a high performing economy encouraged people to have large families because they knew it would be easy to provide for them and also act as a source of labor.
Another causative factor of overpopulation in China is fertility issues (Johnson 60). Studies have established that over the last couple of decades, the fertility pattern of people in China has been changing a lot. The reason for the changing fertility patterns has been the numerous policies that the government introduced to reduce the number of births (Wright 116).
China’s population has reached a point where the government ought to find a permanent solution in order to ensure that the number of people remains within manageable levels. Some of the strategies used by the government include implementation of policies such as the one-child per family, birth-control, one apartment purchase per family, and new car lottery (Mosher 80).
During the initial stages of the program, the government aimed at reducing the number of children per woman from an average of six children to two children. With time, the government introduced the one-child policy that required all women to get a maximum of one child.
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According to the policy, the government was willing to provide numerous benefits to families that agreed to have one child. In addition, families that had more than one child had to suffer serious consequences that included termination of their jobs, high taxation, or termination of pregnancies among others (Rosenberg and Qicheng 53).
The Chinese government has also been advocating for birth control measures, as another effective way of managing the country’s rising population. Some of the methods that the government encourages people to consider include having vasectomies, tubal bindings, and abortions among others (Johnson 79).
It is very sad for a government to support abortion simply because it does not have enough resources to cater for the needs of its huge population. The Chinese government should focus on restoring the country’s lost biodiversity and investing in better infrastructure.
It is ironical the way the Chinese government managed to prioritize economic growth as a way of regulating population growth, whereas it could have focused on increasing the country’s resource capacity. Economic growth empowers people and encourages them to have larger families because they can provide for them (Wright 124).
Effects of the population control policies
Studies have established that the population control policies applied by the Chinese government have had numerous effects on various aspects of the people’s lives. Although the policies have had different degrees of success, they were difficult to implement because of the negative stereotypes the people developed about them (Rosenberg and Qicheng 53).
Some of the information provided to the government by its officials was false. In some homes where there was more than one child, the officials were underreporting because they feared for families that were already struggling. It was inhuman for the government to punish families that had more than one child.
The reason for this is that circumstances, such as the birth of twins, triplets, or more are beyond an individual’s control (Rosenberg and Qicheng 54). In addition, over taxation or terminating the source of income for parents that had a large family made some families to hide their children in homes that did not have any children for fear of the consequences.
According to experts, some of the strategies that the Chinese government used to implement the policies were too harsh on people who were already economically strained (Day 207). Another effect of the policies is sociopolitical fracas. For example, the United States of America was among the first countries to express their displeasure with the birth control measures the Chinese government was asking its people to use.
The government was also forced to ease on some policies, especially where they supported the Chinese tradition of huge preference for boys over girls. The policies have also improved the social and economic welfare of people in China, because natural resources are more accessible and government services are affordable (Rosenberg and Qicheng 61).
Over the last couple of decades, China has managed to regulate the rate of population growth to a manageable level. Although some of the strategies the government used to regulate the number of births have not been very good, people have slowly learned the need and importance of family planning. However, the international community has a responsibility to ensure that the Chinese government focuses on economic empowerment and increased accessibility to resources by all people in order to improve their living standards.
Day, Kristen. China’s Environment and the Challenge of Sustainable Development. New Jersey: M.E. Sharpe, 2005. Print.
Johnson, Tina. Childbirth in Republican China: Delivering Modernity. New York: Lexington Books, 2011. Print.
Mosher, Steven. Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits. California: Transaction Publishers, 2011. Print.
Rosenberg, Brian and Jing, Qicheng. A Revolution in Family Life: The Political and Social Structural Impact of China’s One Child Policy. Journal of Social Sciences 52. 3(1996): 51-69. Print.
Wright, David. The History of China: Second Edition. New York: ABC-CLIO, 2011. Print.