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article imageChina to 'soften tone' on its one-child policy

By Leigh Goessl     Feb 29, 2012 in World
Chinese officials have announced a plan to overhaul the slogans associated with the nation's one-child per family law.
Implemented in 1979, China has adhered to a one-child only law for Chinese families, and this is strictly enforced in urban areas.
This policy is not about to change, however Chinese authorities have announced a plan to 'soften' the tone of the slogans often used to enforce the policy.
Details were announced in the Chinese communist party newspaper, The People's Daily. The National Population and Family Planning Commission, which is in charge of China's population control, is now in the midst of rewriting slogans and softening the overall tone of the one-child policy in a program named the "face-washing project."
There is no plan to be less firm on the policy, which fines some women for having a second child, but only to change the delivery of the messages associated with the population-control related policy.
China's National Population and Family Planning Commission said phrases used promote the policy are "crude," "harsh" and "spine chilling," and now the government is looking to do some revamping. These slogans are blamed on local officials in rural areas creating them as a form of intimidation towards couples considering a second child.
Examples of the harsh slogans are listed as "If you don't receive the tubal ligation surgery by the deadline, your house will be demolished!", "We would rather scrape your womb than allow you to have a second child!", "Once you get captured, an immediate tubal ligation will be done; Should you escape, we'll hunt you down; If you attempt a suicide, we'll offer you either the rope or a bottle of poison." and "Kill all your family members if you don't follow the rule!"
Business Week cited other types of slogans such as “Have fewer children. Raise more pigs" are used. Billboards, banners and walls in China's rural areas display phrases such as "To tie your tubes is to honor your family", “Everyone can have one child. Control having a second, eliminate the third", and “Better to destroy my family than destroy my country.”
BBC News, and Business Week both reported newer slogans would be more gentler. Examples cited were "Caring for the girl means caring for the future of the nation" (to address those couples who keep trying to have a boy) and “Mother Earth is too tired to sustain more children."
Additionally, the National Population and Family Planning Commission reportedly plans to use brochures rather than paint these types of messages on buildings.
China's policy in limiting children in families has frequently sparked controversy. Reportedly it has also created a gender imbalance as boys are more favored and girls are reportedly selectively aborted.
In a 1999 report published in the British Medical Journal (via U.S. National Institutes of Health),a primary criticism noted was, "The main criticism of the policy is its stimulus to discrimination against females, who may be aborted, abandoned, or unregistered." BBC News ran a story in 2001 that outlined the pressures women are under to produce a boy and how it results in not only abortions, but also abandonment of baby girls.
People's Daily reported Li Bin, director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission indicated for every 100 girls born in 2010, 118 boys were born. Estimates place a shortage in wives for 30 million to 40 million adult men, in the not so distant future year of 2020.
China's population is aged 60 or above is currently at 13.26 percent, and this is expected to jump to one-third by 2050, Li said. A new "softer" slogan to address this population segment's growth is "Old people from the one-child families can get the allowances after they are 60 years old."
To avoid birth defects in the new approach, officials will use slogans such as, "Please cure your illness before you plan to be a mother. Please get rid of the alcohol and cigarettes before you plan to be a father."
Last month Digital Journal reported one family violated the law by having eight babies through in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy.
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