I was able to learn a few things about China from my recent trip that I thought were very interesting. While I have a few minutes to kill, I'll fire off a few thoughts.
Ever wonder about China's One Child Policy instituted in 1979? (Remember this ....having boys..... good......and girls.....not good......we're talking in China). What happens if parents have 2, or more children? Does the Chinese government "take them away" or induce abortions? The answer is........nope, sort of. In many areas you can have 2 children or more, but if you do, you will need to pay a "fine" the equivalent of $20,000 USD, that's pretty hefty fine and a very effective deterrent, so having one child pretty much sticks.
Despite its name, the one-child rule applies to a minority of the population; for urban residents and government employees, the policy is strictly enforced, with few exceptions. The exceptions include families in which the first child has a disability or both parents work in high-risk occupations (such as mining) or are themselves from one-child families (in some areas).
In rural areas, where approximately 70 percent of the people live, a second child is generally allowed after five years, but this provision sometimes applies only if the first child is a girl — a clear acknowledgment of the traditional preference for boys. A third child is allowed among some ethnic minorities and in remote, underpopulated areas.
Many people in the rural areas that have girl babies quite frequently get rid of these poor girl babies, either through drownings or suffocation, or sometimes selling them off. Rural families are said to be particularly tempted to kill female offspring, such is the pressure to produce a child capable of coping with the physical demands of farming and prevent cash-strapped farming households from being plunged even deeper into poverty.
Statistically, the policy has had some success. The authorities say it has prevented well over 300 million births since it was introduced in 1980 and is fulfilling its initial aim of ensuring that China can combat rural poverty and improve standards of living across the board.
I haven't read anywhere about the cultural change about ready to hit China in the coming generation(s) but I'm thinking it's gonna be big. Prior to the 'one child policy', your typical Chinese family consisted of the 'old school' 4-5-6-7+ kids in the family. According to my comrades in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Tianjin and Nanjing) the one child kids are under tremendous pressure to excel in school, especially the males, so that they will be able to land a high paying job and one day support not only his eventual family, but also the parents.......both sets. Along with that pressure of excelling in school, these kids have no brothers or sisters to grow up with, often play solo and interaction with others is minimal. I wonder in years to come what sort of impact on their whole society this will make. I'm sure there's a study out there somewhere.
The birth ratio is also very alarming, for every 120 males born, there are 100 females born. A disparagement of 5% is deemed high, China has approx. 20%, I've seen figures as high as 130-100, so you're talking slim pickin's for the boys in China. This is actually a good thing....for the Chinese military that is. If you have an army of a few million Chinses dudes not gettin' any chicks and you've got a potential ji-frickin'-had of monumental proportions on your hands should these boys get a little bent out of shape.
And another thing, I've read that 65%-70% of males smoke cigarettes in China, hell it seemed like nearly 100% when I was there. So you've got the biggest country in the world with a negative birth rate, a 20% difference between males and females, most of the males smoke and most of these males are under pressure to provide for their families, not too mention the slim pickin's of the Chinese gal-folk........what currently seems like such a rosy picture for China with their highly successful transition into 'capitalism', may turn out to be a not so rosy for the future generations.
Just chillin' and wonderin'............BTW, I'm reading "1421, The Year China Discovered America". it's about 600 pages, I'm through about 110 pages so far and it is AWESOME. The 8th through 15th centrury Chinese dynasties were amazing! Just about everything they did/built were of gargantuous size, The Forbidden City, The Great Wall, their ships were 4-5 times the size of the Europeans at the time.
In 1421, the Chinese had thousands of ships set sail to all corners of the earth (yes, North, South America) to let the world know who they are and that they exist, not too conquer, but too let them know who they are. Upon their return 2-3 years later, the Zheng He Dynasty had collapsed, most records were burned and everything went to hell, the boys who returned were in for the shock of their lives.........and that's right where I am with this book.