It’s difficult to know exactly how many abortions — voluntary or otherwise — have been performed in China to get everyone to comply with their notorious one-child policy, because a lot of this stuff occurs off the grid and under the radar — but China’s health ministry just revealed their four-decade tally of 336 million (and I’d rely on this being a very low-ball estimate):
The figure illustrates the enormous impact that the one-child policy has had on China in the four decades since it began.
Official statistics showed that in addition to the terminations, Chinese doctors have sterilised 196 million men and women since 1971. …
There are more than 13 million abortions a year, or 1,500 an hour, in China, according to government researchers, who blame the high figure on a lack of sex education.
Fewer than ten per cent of sexually active couples regularly use condoms, according to the state-run Science and Technology Research Institute. By comparison, there are roughly 11 million abortions each year in India.
Ouch. There’s been some speculation that China is considering eventually backing off of its often brutally enforced one-child policy, rumors that the Chinese regime has said are not going to see any sort of fruition any time soon — but the realities of an aging population are slowly but surely starting to materialize, and China’s might very well be looking at the mother of all demographic problems:
China is facing a critical shortage of workers caused largely by 30 years of restricting family size. Last year, the working age population of China shrank for the first time, threatening a mainland economic miracle built upon a pool of surplus labour.
Debate over the future of the policy is increasingly public, with duelling experts predicting in Chinese newspapers that it will end soon – or last for ever. …
According to the 2010 census, the number of people over 60 has risen to 13.3 per cent of the population compared with a little more than a tenth a decade ago. Children under 14 comprise less than a sixth of the population now, down from almost a quarter previously. …
But even if it is only a matter of time before the policy disappears, no one is predicting exactly when change might come. “We have been waiting for the other shoe to drop for a long time already,” says Cai Yong, a demographic expert at the University of North Carolina.