WASHINGTON (BP)–Bangladesh is following in the fatal footsteps of China’s one-child policy.
The densely populated Asian country will introduce the new population control initiative but will not make it mandatory, according to a December report by the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Bangladesh will promote the policy with the slogan “No more than two children, one is best,” said Mohammad Abdul Qayyum, director general of the country’s Directorate of Family Planning, Xinhua reported. Qayyum acknowledged China’s program “influenced us in framing our policy.”
Couples with only one child will be favored in acceptance by state schools and in receiving financial grants.
China has enforced population control since 1979. Its policy limits couples in urban areas to one child and those in rural areas to two, if the first is a girl. Parents in cities may have second babies if the husband and wife are both only children.
Penalties for violations of the Chinese policy have included fines, arrests and the destruction of homes, as well as forced abortion and sterilization. Infanticide, especially of females, also has been reported.
Chinese leaders have trumpeted its policy as a model for other countries to follow to reduce overpopulation. The fertility rate has dropped to 1.7 live births per woman which is lower than replacement level (exclusive of immigration, 2.1 births per woman is the fertility level that ensures a non-declining population).
However, China’s low birth rate means an age and gender crisis loom within the next two decades.
More than 24 million Chinese men of marrying age are likely to be unable to find wives in the year 2020, partly because of the frequency of sex-selection abortions.
The dearth of children also means China eventually will lose its comparative labor advantage to competing countries such as India and Bangladesh. Population projections show that by 2030, India will become the world’s most populous country, with 1.53 billion citizens compared to China’s 1.45 billion. On top of that, China’s shrinking working-age population will have to shoulder an increasing workload (financial and otherwise) of caring for a massively elderly population.
Chinese demographers predict that in 2025 there will be a generation of only children in China. These children will have no siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins. It is believed it will be the first such generation ever in the world.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.