Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Little Emperor...

...Or Spoilt Brat

A couple of weeks ago I read an article about the one-child policy (计划生育政策 – Ji4Hua4 sheng1Yu4 zheng4Ce4, literally "policy of birth planning") and the fines people are subject to if they break the rules. Then a few days later I came across a series of photos which illustrated perfectly the Little Emperor problem!

The policy was implemented in 1979 by leader Den Xiaoping to limit China’s population growth. Although designated a “temporary measure”, it continues a quarter of a century later. It’s only been restricted to ethnic Han Chinese (95% of the Chinese population) living in urban areas. Citizens living in rural areas and minorities are not subject to the law (they can have another one if the first child is a girl or has a disability but the children are subject to birth spacing –usually 3 to 4 years between kids).

But rules have been broken by people who could afford the fine. Beijing Family Planning Commission director Deng Xingshou was talking about the need to levy higher fines on violators. Rich and famous people ignoring the law have become a serious issue and the government is seeking to revise its regulations to tie the amount of the fine to the income of wealthy violators. In Beijing, fines currently range from three to eight times of the average income in the city (the per capital income in the capital is 24,725 yuan (US$3,600) for urban residents and 10,747 yuan for rural residents), which may not act as much of a deterrent to people making a way more than the average.

This rule has caused a disdain for female infants; abortion, neglect, abandonment, and even infanticide have been known to occur to female infants. The result of such draconian family planning has resulted in the disparate ratio of 114 males for every 100 females among babies (The natural ratio are 105 males for every 100 females). Also recently many couples have turned to fertility medicines to have multiple births (no penalty against a couple who has more than one child in their first birth. The number of multiple births per year had doubled by 2006).

This one child policy has created what is called the “Four-Two-One” problem where one adult child has to provide support to his or her two parents and four grandparents but it also implied that while he grows up he usually has two parents and four grandparent who over-indulged on him and such creating “little emperors”. In 2007, all provinces adopted a special provision allowing families where each parent was an “only child” to have two children of their own.

And this is what happens when you over-indulged on single kids:

Unbelievable, but he got what he wanted

See the whole series of picture, here: