Bioethics Blogs

If abolishing China’s one child policy led to more children, would it be so bad?

Written by Simon Beard

This is an unedited version of a paper which was originally published on The Conversation:

please see here to read the original article

After 35 years, the Chinese government recently announced the abolition of its controversial one child policy for one that will allow all Chinese citizens to have up to two children. Whilst this increased respect for personal autonomy is undoubtedly good, it is not clear if the lifting of the ban will actually lead to a marked increase in China’s birth rate – while the birth rate has dramatically reduced since the policy was introduced, so too have those of neighbouring countries without such policies.

Whether or not Chinese parents decide to use their new-found rights to procreate, the move does raise questions. Would it be good or bad if more children were now born in China and the population grew? And what value might there be in any changes to China’s population size and structure?

There are several reasons to think that more Chinese children would be a good thing. These children, or at least the vast majority of them, can expect to live lives that are ‘worth living’. They will enjoy the good things life has to offer and there is no reason to assume that they will suffer unduly. Whilst China is far from the perfect place to grow up, Chinese people born in 2015 have better expectations for health, education, and prosperity than at any other time in history. More children could also help to solve China’s two pressing demographic challenges: a rapidly ageing population and an over predominance of male children, caused by a sexist preference for boys under the one child.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.