The birth control movement on the Chinese mainland.


The variations in official policy toward birth control by the Chinese communists are traced. The rate of population increase in the People's Republic of China is generally accepted as about 2% annually. Based on this rate the population which is now .75-.8 billion will reach 1.25 billion by the end of this century. Birth control campaigns were promoted during 3 discrete periods: 1) 1953-1958; 2) 1962 to the initial period of the Cultural Revolutton; and 3) from the end of the Cultural Revolution to the present. During the 1st period birth control was actively promoted through newspaper articles, birth control clinics, and the training of cadres in birth control guidance. Late marriage and population limitation were the themes of this effort. However, in late 1957 such ideas were attacked and the new population theme was the importance of large population to production. After some 4 years a new birth control campaign was instituted as a result of the collapse of the "leap forward" period, combined with the breaking off of Soviet aid. Late marriage again was promoted; the recommended ages for marriage for women were 23-27 and 25-29 for men. The idea was implanted that people who marry and have children early are likely to suffer serious health impairment. It was said that in the summer of 1963: 1) marriage licenses were not issued to men before age 30 and women before age 25; 2) middle school students who married risked being dismissed; 3) all married junior high graduates were expelled from senior high or middle technical schools and sent to rural areas to do manual labor; 4) married senior high graduates could enroll only in ordinary colleges but not "intensive colleges;" and 5) college students who married were dismissed. Meetings, conferences, forums, and exhibitions introduced and instructed in the use of contraceptives. During the Cultural Revolution, which reached its height in 1966, press propaganda on birth control and late marriage disappeared immediately. Many of the Red Guards married earlier and the birthrate increased. Since the Cultural Revolution birth control is again being emphasized with more efforts exerted in rural areas. The theory put forth is that couples who marry too early and have too many children are too tired to work and study. Housing and family allowances are also not given for the 3rd child.

Cite this paper

@article{Kueifang1974TheBC, title={The birth control movement on the Chinese mainland.}, author={Ying Kuei-fang}, journal={Issues & studies}, year={1974}, volume={10 5}, pages={80-9} }