China’s One-Child Policy And “Bare Branches”

The American Thinker posted an article today about the end of China’s one-child policy. The new child policy will allow parents to have two children if one of the parents is an only child.

The article reports:

Although there were a number of exemptions to the one-child policy, Chinese population growth was cut by 200 million as the birthrate dropped from 4.77 children per female in the 1970s to just 1.58 in 2012. But the strategy also resulted in massive female infanticide and now a ticking time bomb from millions of unwedded young men threatens to ignite revolutionary violence.

When parents began killing female babies, the population of male babies increased disproportionally, and the ability of many young men to find wives decreased markedly. The article reports that for the young in China, the ratio is 117 men for every 100 women.

The article further reports:

Unfortunately, China has a bad history when it comes to lack of eligible wives. Two horrendous floods and a subsequent famine devastated northeastern China in the mid-19th century. According to political scientists Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer, female infanticide was so rampant during the famine that about 25% of young men in the region were “bare branches” as the Chinese call it — unlikely to ever bear fruit in the form of children. With no hope of families, the bare branches rebelled and formed into huge bands of young male outlaws known as “nien” that wreaked havoc on the Chinese economy. The Nien Rebellion contributed to civil war and the end of the Qing Dynasty.

Obviously the current rulers of China do not want anything even remotely like this to happen again.

The article concludes:

Relaxing the one-child policy may ultimately assist in rebalancing the Chinese economy towards domestic consumption, since younger people tend to spend a higher share of their income than older people. But benefits from the change in the one-child policy will take decades to have much impact on China’s demographics. During the interim, the millions of “bare branches” are going to grow in number, and also grow in anger.

Enhanced by Zemanta