[xtypo_dropcap]W[/xtypo_dropcap]hen China’s communist regime mandated its coercive one-child population control policy, one county in China implemented a different rule: it has allowed two children per family, but has been placing a hefty fine on having a third child. How did this more liberal policy fare compared with the rest of the country?
Since 1985 Yicheng County in Shanxi Province has been a testing ground for a two-child policy in China. Twenty five years later, no excessive population growth problem has been experienced, and the newborn infant sex ratio is within the norm of international levels.
Wu Baotang from Yicheng’s Birth Control Committee told Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle that Yicheng has had good control over its population growth.
Wu said, “In ‘85, when our county began to experiment with the pilot project, our population was 1 percent of the total population of Shanxi Province. After 25 years of practice, now our population is less than 1 percent—our estimation is 0.92 percent. Our newborn infant sex ratio has also remained normal.”
Ms. Chen Yanli, a local mother of two children, is happy with the two-child policy in Yicheng County.
She said, “Originally we did not want to have a second child, since our economic situation is limited. Later we thought that one child will be lonely, so we considered having a second child to keep the first one company.”
Ms. Chen continued, “We will not have any more. How dare we? Our financial means are limited, and it costs so much to have a child. We cannot afford it. Two is enough for us.”
Most of Yicheng’s residents share Ms. Chen’s view. Though the policy allows two children, many people had to think hard before deciding to have a second child.
Liu Wenxu, who has two sons, said, “Society develops so fast. As parents our burden is heavy. We try our best to send our children to school. The cost for their schooling accounts for 60 to 70 percent of our income.”
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