Sunday, November 15, 2015

China's "Loneliest Generation" Reflects on One-Child Policy

New York Times (Nov. 13, 2015): End of China’s One-Child Policy Stings Its "Loneliest Generation’", by Javier C. Hernandez and Amy Qin:

Many people in China celebrated the decision by the Communist Party last month, after more than three decades of the one-child policy, to allow married couples to have two children, calling it a rare human rights victory in a country where freedoms are tightly restricted. But for some of the more than 150 million young people who grew up as only children, the announcement has reawakened feelings of isolation and regret, according to interviews with more than two dozen of them.

Those interviewed recounted the problems the policy has caused: a generation of selfish, pessimistic children with no siblings to help them care for aging parents and a shortage of workers in a growing economy, the primary rationale articulated by the government for ending the policy.  Some have called on the government to apologize for denying them a sibling.

The policy was imposed to combat overpopulation.  It created a generation of well-educated children who have close relationships with their parents.  Although many young Chinese couples would like to have more than one child, the high cost of raising a second child in contemporary Chinese cities is giving some of them pause.

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