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China's invisible Population: The One Child Policy Effect

Introduction It may appear unimaginable that 13 million children could escape the scrutiny of the central Chinese government, yet this is exactly what the 2010 census revealed. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Chinese central government initiated an official One Child campaign with the objective of limiting the great majority of family units in the country to one child per household. The policy's implementation goal was to limit the rate of expansion of China's rapidly growing population. It was anticipated in late 2015 that the program will end in early 2016. China's one-child policy is arguably the greatest sociological experiment in human history.

Hukou system To truly comprehend China's one-child policy, one must first understand China's fundamental socioeconomic framework and governmental household registration system - Hukou In 1951, China joined the list of nations that implemented a household registration system known as Hukou. This system was implemented to ensure social order and a close check on its citizens, but it instead institutionalised socioeconomic inequities in China by segregating the population into two classes. The government collected information on all of its citizens by the means of this system, such as birth, marriage, and death. This system formed the crux of Chinese society. Without being registered under the HUKOU system, children are denied access to public services such as education and health care, as well as the ability to marry, seek employment, or even create a bank account. Something As simple as access to train tickets or travelling abroad is impossible. When a birth is recorded, the child is added to a family's or work unit's hukou booklet as well as a digital database. This registration allows a person to obtain an ID card, which is required for many aspects of contemporary life, including job, travel, marriage, and state benefits. The hukou is also required for children to attend public school. A person's life is documented in the hukou system. As a result, all citizens should be - and wish to be - enrolled in the system since they require civil documents. With a population of 582.6 million people, China was declared the most populous country in the world by the United Nations in 1953.Former Vice Premier and one of the most influential leaders of the Republic of China, Chen Yun, formally introduced the One Child Policy in late spring of 1979 with the aim of relieving the strain the population was putting on demands for water and other natural resources following the post-World War II population explosion.

Socioeconomic effect The one-child policy has implications that extend beyond the purpose of controlling the rising population. The policy saw an increase in the proportion of the elderly, due to the drastic drop in child births with a simultaneous increase in longevity in the 1980s That became a cause of concern not just for the authorities, but also for citizens, because the greater majority of elderly Chinese people depended on their children for assistance once they retired, and there were fewer children to support them. Similar to India's traditions, rural Chinese households favoured male children above female children. The males acquired the family's honour, money, and name, and were responsible for the elderly, but owing to the one-child policy, female offspring were very undesired, resulting in an increase in female infanticide and young girls ending up in orphanages or abandoned. This had a significant influence on China's overall gender ratio. Most significantly, the country's aggregate sex ratio tilted toward men, with around 3 to 4 percent more males than females. Aside from that, one of the most egregious consequences of the policy was that a significant number of first-child births were either hidden or went unreported to the authorities. These children had challenges in attaining fundamental requirements and privileges such as schooling and employment. The number of undocumented children has reached hundreds of thousands, with estimates ranging from hundreds of thousands to several million. During the years of the one-child policy, parents were required to pay a substantial penalty in order to register their child in the household system; also, children born out of wedlock were deemed a breach of China's family planning guidelines. The inability of the parents to pay the charges resulted in recurrent imprisonment or being hauled to court and getting their assets confiscated, as well as constant harassment from local thugs and officials.

While China proclaimed to have prevented over 400 million lives by virtue of the one-child policy, Chinese citizens were subjected to brutal treatment on a routine basis. Broad distribution of contraception, financial repercussions, as well as forced abortions and sterilisations were imposed on those who violated the guidelines. So, despite its importance to the central government, rejection of the hukou indicates deeper flaws inside the Chinese state. Local governments keep children's identification certificates hostage until the penalties for the parent's infringement are paid, despite the fact that this weakens the central government's migratory control system. The one-child policy had a significant impact on China's economy since it resulted in a diminishing workforce and a scarcity of skilled workers owing to individuals not having access to education or job experience. The policy responses provide crucial insights for global economists for future research in labour, development, and Public Economics Studies have discovered that this policy has had a number of effects, including a lower reproduction rate, an uneven sex ratio at birth, and increased human capital. According to an analysis of all urban households from 1992 to 2009, having an additional child decreased the saving rate by roughly 6-7 percent while one more child raised the spending on education in China by an average of 7%, food spending by 2.5%, and other expenditures by around 2.7 %. However, a critical question remains unanswered: what are the long-term consequences, and will China truly recover? Current scenario Presently, more than half of China's undocumented nationals have passed the age of 18. Most of them have not only lost their opportunity for education but also their chance at employment, as hukou and other legal documents are required for employment. These individuals have lost not merely all of their fundamental rights, but also their opportunity for a better life. They are often trapped and are victims of felony crimes such as drug offences, human trafficking, prostitution, and so on, especially women. Owing to their non-existence in Chinese records, their possibilities of escaping and protection from law enforcement become slim to virtually none. Undocumented residents have grown up and started their own families, giving rise to the second and third generations of undocumented citizens.

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