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How China’s one-child policy ended in failure

Desperate attempts by China to curb population growth in 1979 led the communist authorities to offer couples condoms, coils, sterilisation and financial rewards as part of its one-child policy. When this failed, fines and even forced abortions were said to have been used to enforce ‘family planning.’

Even in the 1950s, when China’s population was just below 600 million, birth control was seen as being beneficial to ‘national prosperity’, so said a party leader said in 1956.

The Guardian, 25 September 1956.
The Guardian, 25 September 1956.

By the 1970s, population growth, though having slowed a little since the revolution, was nearing 900 million. To prevent families from having too many children, the state forced women to apply to Planned Birth offices to see if it was ‘their turn’ to have a child in a given year. The authorites also made up rhymes for broadcast, such as “One’s not few, two will do, three’s too much for you!” to get the message about having smaller families across.

The Guardian, 15 March 1982.
The Guardian, 15 March 1982.

By the time China’s population topped the one billion mark in the early 1980s, the country had already begun to enforce its controversial one-child policy. While parents who adhered to the scheme were rewarded with a monthly financial bonus and special rights, those with bigger families could lose state benefits. But the policy was met with resistance in rural China where families wanted sons so they could maintain the tradition of passing on the family name.

The Observer, 12 December 1982.
The Observer, 12 December 1982.

Despite criticism from outside China – and occasionally from within – China’s leaders stuck with the controversial policy, often ignoring the plight of mothers having to resort to abortions or being forced to have their children adopted.

One thing the Chinese couldn’t ignore though was that population numbers were still swelling. More than twenty years after its introduction, the Chinese admitted that the one child policy was a failure.

The Guardian, 27 July 2002.
The Guardian, 27 July 2002.

In 2016, China said it would allow all couples to have two children as a ‘response to an ageing population’ and amid concerns over its economy.

the guardian

44 Comments on "How China’s one-child policy ended in failure"

  1. Rodster on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 12:06 pm 

    I bet the failure of the one child policy has more to do with economics if you dig deep to find the answer. China is swimming in MOAR debt than just about any other Nation. They have created a larger shadow banking system, $25-30 Trillion in debt, bridges to nowhere, roads to nowhere, ghost cities, ghost factories and a flat-lining GDP and an aging population.

    So who’s going to pay for all this stuff? How about MOAR Babies !

  2. yellowcanoe on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 1:00 pm 

    It’s pretty bizarre to see the claim that China’s one child policy was a failure. If you compare China and India’s population pyramid you’ll see that China is much better positioned to keep the growth of its population in check in the future. India, with its preponderance of young people has a great deal of population momentum and will experience a significant amount of population growth even if the birth rate was to sharply decline.

  3. Davy on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 1:41 pm 

    Economist can say what they want about population and growth. It is when you look at population and descent that population numbers show their true dangers. Failed states are those who can’t feed their people. Economies do not operate with famine in their midst. India will be facing profound challenges when the global economy declines and fossil fuels deplete.

  4. HARM on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 4:17 pm 


    Well said. If China’s 1-child policy was a “failure”, then I guess India must be the poster child for pro-growth “success”. I mean just look at all these budding new capitalists:

  5. makati1 on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 8:00 pm 

    All countries should have ‘failed’ as well.

  6. apneaman on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 8:20 pm 

    Has there ever been a species more sex obsessed than apes? To think we could ever control our fucking is ridiculous. It’s what we live for. Since time immemorial we have been trying to invent elixirs so we could fuck even more and they accidentally discovered one a while back. The little blue hard-on pill (history’s best seller) and now a female version is out. Sex, money, food, power, drugs = dopamine, dopamine, dopamine – we can never get enough. The other thing we like to do to excess is pretend we actually are in control of anything. Biggest fairy tale of all. Crazy fucking apes LMAO

  7. apneaman on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 8:48 pm 


    “Most former residents of Dacha have moved under a government plan to relocate 350,000 people to lift them out of grinding poverty which, for their region, has been worsened by an increase in average temperatures of 2.2 degrees Celsius (4 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past half-century that leaves the land more parched.”

  8. makati1 on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 9:18 pm 

    Ap, I guess there are advantages to a semi-dictatorial government. They can do things that a ‘democracy’ cannot and do it now, not when it is too late.

    But what happens when there are no new places to go? Or is that why they built those empty cities? Power them up and you have new homes and businesses for millions. Their food can be, and is, imported from all over the world.

    Can you imagine if the US wanted to move all of the Los Angeles area population to the lower populated states of the mid-west? LOL

  9. apneaman on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 10:10 pm 

    Mak, the US sheep will do what they are told when they are told. All that freedom bullshit is just a story they let them cling too so they can feel better about their slavery. All industrial citizens are indoctrinated rule followers. Training starts immediately at home and by the state once they hit kindergarten then taken over by the corporation or military. You can’t do anything without a licence or approval. Entire lives informed by millions of laws, bylaws, and instructions. Like legal agreements when installing software on your computer – the sheep don’t have a clue they just click the “I Agree” button. I agree with whatever as long as I get my goodies. Most would be totally lost with true freedom. Go to school – go to college – get a good job – marry – squirt out kids – move to burbs – buy shit non stop – retire – die – rinse and repeat. Everything was planned before they are born. No real thinking required, safe and secure, society approved. You get to pick which gear in the machine you want to be if you have the ability. Blue collar/white collar. Plumber or engineer. There’s your freedom. Still need to be licensed and approved by the man. Still have pay the tax and follow the all rules, written and unwritten, from pledge of allegiance and standing for the national anthem to bike helmets to having to mow your lawn or else. Docile Sheep. Domesticated by generations of the powers that be to serve the elite.

  10. makati1 on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 10:30 pm 

    Ap, while your picture of the American sheeple is pretty accurate, I think there would be resistance anyway. It would only work if the government turned off the utilities, provided the trucks and manpower to move their possessions and gave them new homes. To just tell them to move would not work. Oh, a percentage would go voluntarily. Those with noting to lose and no lifetime connections, but not the majority. Or so I think.

    How many stayed behind when Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans? Enough to fill the Super Dome to overflowing and that was a flood that forced them out or die. Their excuse was no transportation, but they had feet and could have made the effort to walk. Maybe a situation will arise and we will see who is more correct. I hope not.

  11. makati1 on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 10:34 pm 

    BTW: Sheep are stupid animals. Yes, they will mostly blindly follow a leader, and a slightly smarted dog can herd them, but in some situations it takes the jab of a pitchfork in the butt to make them move. I know that from my experience feeding some 1,200 sheep on a sheep ranch in Idaho one spring long ago.

  12. apneaman on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 11:40 pm 

    Retarded greedy arrogant apes deserve all the pain that’s coming.

    Condom shares fall after China abandons one-child policy

    Shares in companies that make nappies, prams and baby milk up on Friday after Beijing announces plans to change family planning laws

  13. onlooker on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 11:43 pm 

    I have to say AP your insights are classic. We are exactly what you say we are. Pleasure seeking fools!

  14. apneaman on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 11:53 pm 

    If only there were more of us like this guy we might have a chance.Sigh

    Man cuts off own genitals over spouse’s infidelity

  15. apneaman on Fri, 30th Oct 2015 11:59 pm 

    This guy should be given a medal for doing his part to prevent overpopulation. We need more concerned citizens like him.

    Sheriff: Retired UPS Driver Admits To Having Sex With People’s Pets On Route

  16. MrNoItAll on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 1:23 am 

    “Has there ever been a species more sex obsessed than apes?”

    Sex obsession has always been a favorite of mine. It isn’t sex obsession that is the problem. The problem is with macho mofo baby making, the kind that they practice in the Philippines, for example. Making babies in too many places is a symbol of manhood, and a claim to “happiness” for the women. It’s a destitute, uneducated, poverty thing. Let’s not go down the road of knocking sex!

  17. dashster on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 1:44 am 

    Maybe China will start an agressive immigration policy now to make up for the 36 years of one-child policy “failure”. Who can hit 2 billion first – India or China?

  18. onlooker on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 1:59 am 

    haha, they want to conquer the world through sheer numbers.

  19. apneaman on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 2:06 am 

    “the Philippines, for example”

    How about your own fucking backyard?

    The unbelievable rise of single motherhood in America over the last 50 years

  20. makati1 on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 2:35 am 

    Ap, it’s difficult for Americans to look in the mirror.

  21. GregT on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 2:56 am 

    “Investigators say Darland told undercover detectives posing as farmers that he wanted to have sex with various animals on the farmer’s property, including with miniature horses, dogs and goats.”

    “Investigators seized Darland’s dog. The suspect said he had sex with his own dog. The animal is now being cared for and evaluated for any signs of sexual abuse by the Arizona Humane Society.”

    This story is so wrong on every level. I wonder if the dog is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation?

  22. onlooker on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 3:04 am 

    “I wonder if the dog is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation?” Poor animals between being butchered or raped or experimented upon, it sucks to be an animal at this time.

  23. theedrich on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 3:58 am 

    Note that the population-control policy, as with Mao Zedong’s and Stalin’s 100-million-deaths actions, was all done in the name of “improving” the economies of their populations.  Ditto for the policies of the Viet Cong, the Khmer Rouge and other Commie countries.  Somehow it never works out the way the lefties intend.

    The ThirdWorld, with a few exceptions, has imported the practice of subliminal advertizing (a weapon of psychowar invented in the West) to sell goodies using sex as bait.  In effect, this technique and the obsession with materialism have universally disrupted the natural patterns of existence for homo sapiens and most other higher species.  In essence, the entire process of evolution has gone awry.  But never fear:  White Christianity will import the ThirdWorld so it can spread its squalor and overpopulation even here.  We already see some of the results in the spread of the narcotics epidemic.  Heaven forfend that we should do anything serious about the issue.  For that would be racist.  And Unchristian.

  24. Kenz300 on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 7:02 am 

    Climate Change, declining fish stocks, droughts, floods, pollution, water and food shortages all stem from the worlds worst environmental problem……. OVER POPULATION.

    Yet the world adds 80 million more mouths to feed, clothe, house and provide energy and water for every year… this is unsustainable…

    Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches | World news | The Guardian

  25. Boat on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 11:43 am 


    So you give the Christians credit for the narcotic epidemic, squalor and overpopulation?

    The right wing republican Christians tried the war on drugs and had more people in jail than any country in the world. Then it got expensive. Now the laws are getting watered down and the war is effectively over. You can’t beat drugs.

  26. apneaman on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 12:17 pm 

    Boat, looks like the whitewing rightwing Jesus lovers have had a change of heart on the drug war now that it’s their kids and grand-kids who are the “evil doers”.

    In Heroin Crisis, White Families Seek Gentler War on Drugs

  27. Boat on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 12:58 pm 

    The kids of white Jesus lovers always did drugs. This is not new news. 80% of all abortions are from people claiming to believe in a higher faith/being. Abort about the same rate as non believers.

    So whats your point. Your surprised they are human?

  28. Ed on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 4:20 pm 

    China has thrown in the towel. It was a brave effort to keep within the pre/post fossil energy carrying capacity but in the end it was too little, too late and too much effort.

  29. John Orr on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 6:36 pm 

    I don’t know what u posters do for sex but u have to give it to be Chinese for restraint cos sex with a condom is shit….if the Chinese are stuck for numbers there are plenty of Muslims heading to Europe could be diverted!!!!

  30. GregT on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 6:47 pm 


    e-Learn the English Language dot com


    Your vs You’re

    What’s the difference between your and you’re? Your presence on this page means you’re about to find out.

    Your is the second person possessive adjective, used to describe something as belonging to you. Your is always followed by a noun or gerund.

    You’re is the contraction of “you are” and is often followed by the present participle (verb form ending in -ing).

    As in; You’re surprised they are human?

  31. Kenz300 on Sat, 31st Oct 2015 6:53 pm 

    The least educated people have the most children…
    The poorest people have the most children………


    The most educated people have the least children……..
    The wealthiest people have the fewest children……………
    Hhhhhhhmmmmmmm seems to be a trend here………

    If you can not provide for yourself you can not provide for a child….

    Birth Control Permanent Methods: Learn About Effectiveness

  32. Davy on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 9:20 am 

    How about this admission of diminishing returns from the central Banks:

    “China’s Manufacturing Misses; Nonmanufacturing Worst Since 2008 Despite Unprecedented $1 Trillion “Debt Injection”

    “A more accurate take would be to say that China’s continued monetary easing hasn’t yet boosted smaller businesses as much as their larger, state-owned counterparts, which are able to borrow at reduced rates. Perhaps it won’t: after all across the Developed World, ongoing QE, ZIRP and NIRP have now reached their point of diminishing returns (something even Mario Draghi admitted), so it just may be the case that ongoing easing by China will merely accelerate the exporting of deflation (and perpetuating the domestic misallocation of capital) in a world where currency wars are all the rage.”

    Or how about this:

    “Based on a report posted last week by China’s, and translated by Chiecon, China’s state owned enterprises added almost 6 trillion yuan (around 1 trillion dollars) of debt in September, according to Luo Yunfeng, an analyst at Essence Securities, as “an unprecedented increase in leverage”. This means that not only is the government abandoning its deleverage policy, it is actually increasing leverage.

    Latest Ministry of Finance data shows that by the end of September total SOE debt had reached 77.68 trillion yuan, representing a increase of 5.93 trillion yuan on August, and an increase of over 11 trillion yuan in 2015.”

    Folks, we are so close to a meaningful contraction now. It is debatable what this will be because all major markets are repressed and in a state of disequilibrium to normal conditions. We are entering the new normal new normal. What is that? That is when the old post 2008 new normal of QE and rate repression hits it limits of utility. The current new normal is an expression of the diminishing returns to those efforts being manifested in dysfunction and irrational policies that will soon lead to economic abandonment both rational and irrational. Folks this is peak complexity of our economic global system. It is all downhill form here.

  33. Boat on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 9:45 am 


    I don’t know what the Chinese think 1 trillion will do but money is not dispersed quickly. Look for the benefits of this trillion over 2-3 years, not the next month.

  34. Davy on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 10:08 am 

    Zoom, right over Boat’s head. Boat if you can’t see the obvious you are addicted to corn porn. I Call it as I see it good or bad. You are mistaken to think I am a doomer out of desire. I doom because that is what I see unlike you who sees what you want to see. Big difference and the big difference between a corn and a doom.

    There is not one legitimate doom on this board that wants collapse. We are all seeing the obvious and being honest. I am not saying you are not honest I am saying you are engaged in personal deception by nature of cognitive dissonance. We see on our board so many times cornucopians come to here only to be sucked into our black hole of doom. You guys either eventually leave of shut up.

  35. onlooker on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 10:16 am 

    Yes because gets what however the much the corns wish to adorn their view of reality with wishful thinking, we of the realistic/doom variety are here to bring you back to reality. The truth has a funny way of doing that you know. The plethora of information here unfortunately is all linked by the common thread of a civilization gaining ever more downward spiral momentum. I personally want to know rather than be caught unaware both materially and psychologically

  36. onlooker on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 10:17 am 

    Yes because guess what however much the corns

  37. Boat on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 10:44 am 


    None of us know when the end time is. Since the written language went to print there have always been doomers that thought their time was the end. When you are dead and gone there will be another to take your place. Take comfort in that.
    In the meantime it is fun to watch every market correction signal the big crash only for the markets to recover. Keep up the good work. I enjoy the remarks from short about API when light sweet oil is needed by the oil industry and it brings equal value.
    You guys are strong as a group supporting each other even when it is crazy shyt. Gather and Circle with teeth showing. Cuss, insult and try to chase away opposing views. Time is on my side. Every year is just but reinforcement that it isn’t as bad as you think.

  38. Davy on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 10:50 am 

    Boat, the insults are designed to knock you out of you delusional thinking. It is called tough love when at the family level. Here on our board it is called reality testing comments.

  39. apneaman on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 11:12 am 

    Boat, looks like 6 more of your fellow Texans met their doom from yet another AGW jacked weather event and so did more infrastructure. Neither time nor facts our on your side.

    Tornadoes Cause Destruction, Flooding Continues in Texas; 6 Dead, At Least 2 Missing

  40. Boat on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 11:28 am 


    Storms are the least of texas problems.

  41. apneaman on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 11:47 am 

    Boat, when faced with disturbing evidence, attempts to change the subject, yet again. As of Friday the dollar estimate for the latest round of AGW consequences was at $3,000,000,000 and unlike automobile insurance, not everyone has flood insurance. More to come boaty, lots more.

  42. Boat on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 12:17 pm 

    I think we had this conversation before. Destruction that happens on coasts with ever increasing populations and infrastructure that is not built to handle hurricanes is on the humans. Less population in safer areas is an answer not happening. Report the cost of lack of brains is a better stat. You don’t try to grow a rain forest in a desert do ya. Well don’t add to the coast with rising oceans and climate change. Reporting damage doesn’t add much.

  43. PrestonSturges on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 1:19 pm 

    looks like we’ve got another honest to God swastika waving Nazi on board. Is Arthur still around? Maybe they can start dating.

  44. theedrich on Sun, 1st Nov 2015 7:12 pm 

    Christianity’s built-in fantasia leads to Kool-Aid, Boat.  Its obsession with wonderfulness for everybody, with turning the other buttock, acting meek to inherit the earth, giving money to the poor so they can overpopulate, and Whites feeling guilty for some mythical apple-eating by equally mythical ancestors — all of this and more eventually creates an impatience which refuses to wait for some postmortem pipe dream.  The demand for heaven must be satisfied at this very moment, and narcotics provide that satisfaction.  But the whole Jesus (or Yahweh or Mohammed) insanity ultimately results in suicidal behavior.  After all, what else could one expect from a fantasy that says death (in heaven or with 72 copulation-ready virgins) is better than life?  God/Allah will provide and will rescue you no matter how thoroughly you foul the planetary nest.

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