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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

China's One Child Policy Repealed: My Thoughts

China recently repealed its infamous one-child policy. The one-child policy was created to stem China's explosive population, but policymakers recently realised that may mean a sharp drop in the workforce that China's labour-based economy may not be ready to handle. It also helped contribute to the gender imbalance in China today, through gender-selective abortions, female infanticide, and abandonment of female infants. I was one, nineteen years ago.

Day One, in clothes from the orphanage. 

Adopted girls and women are reacting to this change in policy in different ways. Because I'm a history/international relations major, I am viewing it largely as a change in policy. The Chinese government created a socially unpopular policy that created socioeconomic problems that it did not foresee, and now it's repealing it years after significant damage has already been done.

I don't think this is as big of a deal as people are making it out to be.  It's not the start reproductive freedom in China... couples are still limited to two children. From my time in China, I can honestly say that the attitude many young women have towards children is, "nice but expensive". Having kids in every country isn't cheap, but economic factors will probably prevent many people from having a second child anyways. Also, the one-child policy created a cultural shift for many urban Chinese. I don't think having two children is appealing for many Chinese couples today.

My perspective on the matter isn't that interesting. Maybe it's because I studied abroad over the summer in Chengdu and have a better perspective of what living there is like compared to other adoptees that maintain a more fantasy-based version of China? Maybe it's because my parents made sure I still had connections to my Chinese roots growing up, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything? I'm not sure. But I realise that this policy change isn't out of the kindness of the Chinese government's hearts. It's a pragmatic change for the current Chinese population, not a move to repair the relationship between adoptees and our motherland. To be honest, my reaction was, "Who cares? It doesn't actually affect me." What happened in the past cannot be changed, and I have no idea why I would want it to change.

Now, that's not me saying that girls that had emotional reactions are crazy. Everyone processes these things differently, and I spent a reasonable amount of emotional energy on this when I was younger. At this point though, I'm pretty comfortable being straight with people. I was abandoned.  I was probably abandoned because my biological parents wanted a son. I got adopted by great people who are the best parents a girl could ask for. And no, I'm not going to burn time, money and energy looking for my biological parents. They made their decision never to see me again nearly two decades ago, and I respect that decision. 

Chinese American and proud of it. 

 I can say with confidence that my life is better having been adopted than having not been adopted. I have parents that love me. I was able to grow up in American culture-- which treats men and women FAR more equally than Chinese culture, by the way.  Growing up I was able to do ballet, learn Spanish, travel to Europe, and play the flute. That's even before I moved to Singapore and had a crazy three years prior to ending up in a great university. I can honestly say that NONE of that would have been possible if I hadn't been adopted, because my parents would not have been there to make it possible. I am incredibly grateful that I was able to get the reshuffled hand I got at life.

Mom and Dad, if you're reading this: I love you!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent perspective and writing. Glad you felt free to express yourself. Of course we read you blogs! Love You Lots! Dad


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