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The world may slowly be turning into the Land of China

26.12.2006
 
Pages: 12
The world may slowly be turning into the Land of China

Skeptics estimate that the Chinese may constitute half of the world’s population in 2057. The question is: Where will all the others have to go to if the estimates are correct?

A huge signboard put up in a Beijing street features a happy family flashing phony smiles. A father and a mother embrace each other while holding a plump baby with rosy cheeks. The red hieroglyphs read: “One family – one child! We shall fulfill the orders of the Party!” The comely father’s eye is stained with the mark of an egg that must have been hurled by somebody who is not so ready and willing to fulfill the Party’s orders…

“They pay $10,000 for the birth of a child? Let’s move to Russia!”

It seems that the Chinese authorities have tried everything in an attempt to curb population growth. The measures include a $3,000 tax on the birth of a second child (the amount equals a 2-year total in wages earned by an average Chinese worker); compulsory (though officially banned) sterilizations of thousands of women in rural areas; and free-of-charge abortions with complimentary food stamps for a week. But nothing really works. Despite the steps taken by the government to lower birth rate in the country, China’s population increased by 8 million people last year and totaled 1.3 billion people. The authorities are planning to utilize buses with three decks in the major cities since the existing double-deckers are in short supply. Compared to Shanghai’s underground railway, the Moscow metro in the rush hour looks like a desert. The transport officials in Shanghai already hired several “packers” (just like the Japanese did in Tokyo) whose job is to squeeze passengers tight into the metro cars so that the trains may be filled to capacity. “There’s a horrible future in store for us. In 50 years we’ll find ourselves in dire straits, the people will be crammed into this country like too many rice seeds stuck together in a lunch cup,” says an article published by The Shanghai Times.

“The point is that China has always been a very poor country,” said Jang Zeng, chief doctor at a maternity hospital in Harbin. “The Chinese tradition of having many offspring in a family stems from the matter of economics. The parents would hope to see at least one or two of their children make a career and thus provide a decent standard of living for them in the old age. So the steps taken by the government in order to break down the age-old tradition comes as a state of shock to the people. They’re afraid of living hand-to-mouth when they grow old. They simply brush aside the official explanations that have to do with a negative impact of overpopulation,” added the doctor.

The authorities in China’s rural areas take a much less complex approach. The majority of peasants have no means to pay $3 thousand in taxes for a second child, and therefore the authorities simply refuse to register children born into such families. As a result, the newborn do not exist on paper, they do not got to a kindergarten, school, and have no ID. The “ghost children” flock to the megalopolises after growing up. In most cases they work at construction sites without getting any pay, all they get is meals. Nobody has exact data concerning the number of the “illegal children” in today’s China. According to estimates published by the Japanese newspaper Asahi Simbun, there are about one hundred million unregistered people in China.

“Is it true that your president promised to pay $10,000 for the birth of a child? Then we’d better move to Russia ASAP and get the Russian citizenship!” Lots of Chinese I talked to share the above opinion. Having as many children as you wish while getting money from the state for your procreation activities seem completely improbable to the residents of a country that is heavily overpopulated.

Shady companies offering customers to get a “Russian passport” began to mushroom in Harbin. About 30 million people have left China over the last twenty years. There was a significant increase in the number of children born each year into the families of Chinese immigrants in Western Europe (e.g. Britain). The increase looks particularly noticeable against the backdrop of a sharp decrease in the birth rate in Europe and Russia. It is small wonder that the government officially supports the emigration from China.

“The whole world should pray that the Chinese Communists will stay in power,” said Dr. Jacob Wei at the University of Hong Kong. “The authorities have been able to gain some success in keeping a lid on population growth only by imposing restrictions and large fines on the people. At the moment 20% of the world’s population is the Chinese. The proportion could have been a lot higher. Take a look at India. India is a democracy, and the overall birth rate will be on the increase no matter how hard the government is trying to implement a nationwide “one family-one child” program. It isn’t hard to see the future since jobs are already scarce for today’s population of China. One family is invariably looking at another family’s newborn baby with hostility because the baby is a potential competitor for their own children. The Chinese have no alternative aside from moving to other counties where the birth rate is low,” Dr. Wei said.

Pages: 12
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