In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, a very common expression was that “the rich get richer and the poor get children.” In China, that’s been turned on its head. Not only do the rich (probably) get richer, they also get the children — and their Communist overlords are cracking down:
Rich Chinese people who flout the country’s family planning policies, which usually limit couples to one child, will face higher fines under tougher new enforcement guidelines, state media said on Saturday.
The China Daily said the move to assess fines in line with the violator’s income came in response to widespread concern that current fines did not serve as enough of a deterrent to the well-off, essentially allowing them to treat the fines as a fee for having more than one child.
The new measures, issued by the National Population and Family Planning Commission and 10 other agencies, single out the elite as needing to play their part in controlling the country’s population.
“(Communist) Party members, cadres and social public figures should take the lead in following the population and family planning regulations,” the paper quoted the statement as saying, threatening strict punishments for public figures who violate the rules.
Violators could also see their credit ratings damaged, the paper said — a serious threat in a society where people are increasingly taking out loans to buy homes and cars, and where banks are often prodded by authorities to restrict lending to certain groups or companies in line with policy aims.
China credits family planning laws with preventing 400 million births and thereby boosting prosperity in a country that now has 1.3 billion people, a fifth of the world’s total.
Another modern problem in China, flowing directly from the limit on the numbers of children any family can have, is the huge gender imbalance. Since females have little value in that society, the article points out that there are 118 boys born for every 100 girls born. The normal ratio is about 105-107 boys for every 100 girls (although there are more boys being born lately).
I used to think that the furious rate of abortions and infanticides in India and China, all of which are aimed at getting rid of unwanted girl babies, would raise the status of girls in those societies. My theory was that, as something becomes more rare, it becomes more valued. As far as I can tell, and I’m too lazy to look up links to support my impression, that hasn’t happened. Instead, it has simply led to women being kidnapped and raped in greater numbers as there are more and more men in need of feminine companionship (whether for brute sex or “holy” matrimony) and fewer and fewer women to fit the bill. That is, women, instead of being valued for their rarity, are being fought over and destroyed like the toy in the center of a violent tug of war.