AN investigation has been launched into whether two-time Olympic diving champion Tian Liang has violated China’s one-child policy after his wife, Ye Yiqian, gave birth to a boy, their second child, in Hong Kong early this year.
China adopted the one-child policy in 1978 to curb population growth that led to a doubling of China’s population in less than 30 years (1949-76).
The Shaanxi Province Population and Family Planning Commission is investigating whether Tian broke China’s family-planning rules. Under the law, there are only a few conditions under which couples can have a second child.
Online, many people said that none of those conditions – such as both parents coming from one-child families themselves – applied in Tian’s case
Parents who violate the rules must pay hefty fines. Schooling and healthcare also become more expensive, since those with more than one child must pay the full cost.
Some rural families, minority groups, or people who were themselves only children can be exempted from the family-planning policy. Also, children born overseas who do not seek Chinese citizenship are exempt.
The policy has managed to curb the population growth, but has led to a gender imbalance, since many families want a son. Males are the ones who (well, their wives, really) care for aging parents. Females move off and live with the husband’s family. So according to tradition and social custom, sons are very important. This has led to female infanticide and gender-selective abortions, to ensure male offspring. And now China has “missing women,” almost 50 million according to some estimates.
But back to the Chinese diving sensation and now movie star:
Tian, who works at the Shaanxi Sports Bureau in central China’s Shaanxi Province, could face expulsion from the government facility.
The bureau said late last week that Tian was removed from his position as vice director of the swimming administration center but wouldn’t be sacked because his son was born in Hong Kong.
The policy has curbed growth, and in a few years China’s population will quit growing altogether, and begin to shrink. Will the policy change? How will a shrinking population affect the labor force? At what point do government officials think the population will be ‘just right’?