China released a postage stamp to celebrate the lunar year of the pig. The image on the stamps hints at the fact that the country might be looking at changing its family-planning policy. The stamp features a cartoonish pig family with two parents and three piglets. Some think that the government might lift all birth restrictions. China’s one-child policy was prevalent for many decades. It was abandoned in 2016 and a 2 child policy was introduced. One of the stamps celebrating the year of the monkey features a mother hugging two baby monkeys.
Analysts have predicted that China might remove all restrictions for many months as it has the world’s lowest fertility rates today. There is also a gender imbalance that is leading to social unrest, and unavailability of labour. There are some reports which suggest that independent fertility might be introduced in 2019, allowing people to have as many children as they want.
When the 2-child policy replaced the 1-child policy in 2016, China witnessed the most number of births since 2000. However, the trend did not continue due to decades of birth-control rules and related public campaigns. The number of births in China fell considerably in 2017.
Even though the policy might be changed, there needs to be a change in mentality as well. Chinese women had to face forced abortions, heavy fines, eviction, abuses and more for decades if they thought of a second baby. Now, the Chinese government wants women to have more children leading to a lot of debates and concerns. Some media houses think that the Chinese Government always uses a paternalistic tone in these cases and calls families not wanting to have more children, selfish. The media houses think that the Government is objectifying women as tools for reproduction.
China has the largest population falling into the middle-class category in the world. Like many western countries, they face low birth-rate patterns. Reversing this trend can be very difficult.
Image Courtesy: China Post