Beijing is quickly moving beyond a voluntary two-child policy to one where every couple is required to have two children, says PRI President Steven Mosher.
“The two-child policy is coming to be referred to as a “comprehensive two child policy” or a “full two children policy,” (“全面两孩”政策 / “全面二孩”政策),” says Mosher. “The implication is that they should be encouraged to fill their two-child quota.”
The authorities in Yichang, a city of four million people, have called on all Communist Party members to “take the lead in responding to the Party Central Committee’s call” to have a second child. Younger Party members were advised to lead by example (the Chinese phrase used literally means “doing it starts with me”), while older comrades were told to “educate and supervise their children” with the obvious intent of encouraging grandchildren. Party members of all ages were urged to “take various measures to mobilize the masses to actively achieve a ‘full two children policy.’ ”
In recent months, the state-controlled media have been publishing “opinion pieces” about the need to reverse China’s low birth rate. It wasn’t so long ago that articles in the People’s Daily were urging the masses to stop having children “for the good of the country.” In a remarkable about face, an article that recently appeared in the People’s Daily asserted that increasing the birth rate is a matter of national concern, stating “the birth of a baby is not only a matter of the family itself, but is also an event of national importance.”
Mosher cautions that the Chinese Communist Party, which only a short time ago resorted to force and coercion in preventing couples from having more than one or two children, could resort to more coercive measures if their attempts to boost the birth rate are not successful.
“With provincial and local Party committees “mobilizing the masses” to reproduce, can even more coercive measures be far behind?” Mosher says, “To enforce the one-child policy, the Chinese Communist Party forcibly aborted and sterilized hundreds of millions of women over the years. To enforce a mandatory two-child policy, what would the Party not do?”
Mosher is the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order.
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