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Additional Contemporary Issues

Page history last edited by Bob Andrian 9 years, 4 months ago

China's Family Planning


China's "One Child" policy to help control its burgeoning population growth was instituted in 1979. It certainly has been successful, though with many unintended consequences---demographic, social, economic, and cultural---in slowing growth rates, but it will likely remain in effect for the next generation. It is a complex policy with different applications and contingencies depending on where one lives in China. In particular rural areas can differ from urban areas. 


The article from TIME magazine provides a brief overview of the history of policy.


One of the consequences of the One-Child policy has been a growing gender imbalance. The ratio of boys to girls is becoming more and more skewed on the male side.



The aging of the Chinese population in some areas, for example, Shanghai, has caused the government to rethink the one-child policy.




In addition, there are other exemptions from the policy, notably for ethnic minorities.



China and Tibet


While we did gain some insight into the tumultuous Sino-Tibetan relationship in our last class, that relationship dates back to the early 18th century and the expansionist desires of the Qing (Manchu) dynasty. Chinese military intervention in Tibetan politics began in 1720 when Qing armies invaded and pacified Tibet and installed a new Dalai Lama who was loyal (he did not have a choice) to the Manchu emperor. Since that time, there has always been tension between independent minded Tibetan princes and Dalai Lamas and Chinese authorities. Add various waves of Han Chinese migration into Tibet and these tensions can proliferate.


Chinese rulers including the triumphant CCP in 1949 have always maintained territorial consolidation as a goal. The British had at times shown interest in Tibet while they were in control of India, but they demonstrated no desire to intervene (nor did India, which had its own problems) when the Communists asserted China's sovereignty over the so called "autonomous" region in 1950.


We know of the massive destruction of monasteries in Tibet in 1959, the result of the suppression of an armed rebellion. The Dalai Lama fled to India where he was given sanctuary much to the anger of Chinese officials. In the late 80s another major uprising in Lhasa was harshly put down by the government (led by the present president, Hu Jintao) and was recorded in photos by Western journalists who were then ordered out of the region. Fast forward to 2008 and the pre-Olympics uprisings, and similar repression and news embargoes occurred.


Increasing numbers of Han Chinese have emigrated to Tibet, part of a government campaign to acculturate the area and minimize any possibilities of Tibetan Buddhists engaging in political rebellion. Today the Dalai Lama has no interest in pursuing Tibetan independence but does want to see his people have more control over their religious and cultural affairs while being a part of the PRC. He also has been vociferous in his denunciation of Chinese brutal treatment of the Tibetan people.


The Chinese government has its view of the proper relationship with Tibet, which starts with the Dalai Lama being labelled a counterrevolutionary. (That said, the government has now decided it is willing to talk to the Dalai Lama as long as he renounces both Tibetan and Taiwanese independence.) At the other end of the spectrum, there are those inside and outside of Tibet who want to see it freed from the yoke of Chinese oppression.


You can listen to the government's perspective in this video clip from aljazeera english: 



Here is a different perspective and one that illustrates the element of mistrust that exists between the parties:




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