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One Child Only. Really.

When my sister sent me the link to Red FM, I was ecstatic that I could listen to Malaysian news reports and popular English hits like Timbaland’s “Apologize” (my current fave), Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” (so appropriate!), Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose”, good old Fleetwood Mac and yummylicious Enrique Iglesias…

Thank you, sis!

Anyway, I’m stunned by what I hear of how China’s “One Child Policy” is implemented – both by the government (??) and the people (??).

China’s One Child policy, which is to control the general population, the number of Han Chinese and increase the number of minority Chinese state that:

1. city (chengshi – ??) folks can only have ONE child. This is especially enforced on government employees because they are entitled to a pension?

2. country (nongcun – ??) folks can have a second child if their first is a girl. I think they can have more than 2 since they are supposed to help with farm work .

3. minority Chinese living in the city are entitled to a second child when the first child reaches the age of 4;

4. IF a Han Chinese woman “accidentally” has a second child, then you will be fined (fa kuan – ??) RMB10,000 and given a tubal ligation after you deliver (? It’s called dong sou su – my maid doesn’t read or write Chinese / pinyin well)

5. As preventive steps, women are supposed to get an IUD or a tubal ligation and men a vasectomy but now, the law isn’t that strict on the men anymore.

When we moved into the new apartment, I had a lovely Chinese Minnan (??) family here – grandparents, three sons, a daughter, a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter.

We got friendly and ran in and out of each other’s apartments – the grandmother also invited me to send the active, demanding, whiny and Mummy’s thigh-hugging boy over to play in her granddaughter’s playland (not playroom because it’s a mini Toys R Us!!!) when I was cooking.

One day, she came over to tell me that a) her daughter-in-law’s father does not know that she’s married with a child. She was actually pregnant in her final year at the university, you see.

b) Her granddaughter was secretly born in Hong Kong and does not hold a Chinese birth certificate (or any birth certificate for that matter!)

When I told my maid this, she said that they are hoping for a boy! If the second child is a boy, then they will legalize her for her birth certificate and pay the fukou (??)?

If the second one is also a girl, will they keep her a secret, abandon her and try for number three?

Sadly, modern technologies i.e. ultrasound which allows gender detection actually increase the number of gender infanticides or under-reporting like my neighbour here.

Another maid told me of her sister-in-law’s close call with the government authorities – she was secretly pregnant with her second child and hiding out at home.

Did you know that pregnant ladies are supposed to carry their marriage certificates with them? Well, my maid forgot hers when she was pregnant then. The government official will follow you home to check it!

She was *worried sick* for her sister-in-law because who lived next door because if she was discovered, she would be:
a) fined,
b) forced to abort the baby, even as late as 7 months pregnant!
c) given a tubal ligation

Thankfully, God answered her prayers and her sister-in-law was taking a nap then.

As we discussed this, I agree with my maid that the current implementation of China’s One Child policy is gender-biased because men and women were ‘neutered’ in the past.

Now, only tubal ligations are enforced on Han women. Han Chinese men have their reproductive organs intact!

As a Miao lady, she’s thankful her Han Chinese husband is quite open-minded as he didn’t mind if she had a baby girl (she has a son).

However, she tells me that many Chinese women are living with life’s bad deal – if they are divorced with 1-2 children, it’s highly unlikely they’ll find another Chinese man who’ll marry them. The men suspect that they are unable to bear any more children.

Although I tried to comfort her with the fact that many men are just happy to marry a woman for her company (and not her child-bearing abilities), I agree with her that it’s not easy for them to find such men…

Isn’t it depressing? Read this article on Chinese baby girls and this article on a Chinese orphanage. Really heart-breaking.

P/S Sorry for the many (???) – they are supposed to be Chinese characters, which did not appear when I hit “publish”. Sigh, I need another plugin/widget???

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Josette March 14, 2009, 11:36 am

    How do you differentiate a Han Chinese from other Chinese? Who are the minority Chinese?

  • a-moms-diary March 15, 2009, 3:51 pm

    That’s a really sad case of population control.

  • HN March 17, 2009, 8:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing Kittycat… I always wish to know more in depth about birth control issue in China… Looking at the consequences of this rule, it is indeed a very cruel regulation indeed!

  • giddy tigress March 18, 2009, 4:16 am

    That is absurd! Such gender biasness should not exist! I can imagine the women living in fear all the time…

  • Kit March 24, 2009, 2:03 pm

    Josette – According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Chinese), Han Chinese is the single largest ethnic group in the world. Most of the Chinese we see are Han. One of the part-time cleaners I have is not Han. She has large eyes, double eyelids and a darker skin tone. She’s a sub-group of Miao.

    A Mom’s Diary – Yes, very sad.

    HN – Population control is a tough issue for China. Not sure if’s it’s an effective way. The average Chinese are afraid of having a No. 2 especially if a) they are not rich and b) their first kid is less than 4.

    Giddy Tigress – Yup, that’s right.

  • KittyCat March 24, 2009, 2:03 pm

    Josette – According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Chinese), Han Chinese is the single largest ethnic group in the world. Most of the Chinese we see are Han. One of the part-time cleaners I have is not Han. She has large eyes, double eyelids and a darker skin tone. She’s a sub-group of Miao.

    A Mom’s Diary – Yes, very sad.

    HN – Population control is a tough issue for China. Not sure if’s it’s an effective way. The average Chinese are afraid of having a No. 2 especially if a) they are not rich and b) their first kid is less than 4.

    Giddy Tigress – Yup, that’s right.