Should China flush the family planning policy?

In Chinese law the 26th article of ordinance states that unmarried women, who do not obtain licenses from their partner or who have children with someone who already has a spouse, will be subject to a social compensation fee of £17,000. This fine amounts to more than six times the average disposable income. The social stigma associated with single mothers leaves them vulnerable. They are the source of incessant rumours and embarrassment.


Photo: Huffington Post

This meant that the unmarried mother of ‘Baby 59’ felt she had to cover up her pregnancy by wearing baggy clothes and tightly wrapping her stomach. The little boy named after his incubator number, weighing only 5lbs was trapped beneath a shared toilet with the placenta still attached. He is now recovering after the long two hour rescue mission carried out fire fighters.

It was suggested that the unmarried mother initially pretended she was a bystander and called for help after her failed attempts to save him herself. The infant was admitted with a low heart rate and minor cuts and bruising. The mother later came forward and admitted to secretly delivering the baby, alerting the landlord after cleaning the room of all evidence. She explained how the birth was unexpected and the infant fell into the toilet by accident. It didn’t only surprise her it also astonished the land lady and other residents due to the lack of blood. The 22-year-old mother of ‘Baby 59’, who graduated from high school and works in a restaurant, couldn’t afford an abortion. However, it’s said she never actually wanted to have an abortion, even though the father denied any responsibility.

This incident received mixed feelings at the hospital. Baby 59 received an array of gifts, nappies, clothes, milk powder and even offers of adoption. Any sympathy for the mother was soon replaced with horror, outrage and anger, as one person exclaimed; ‘The parents who did this have hearts even filthier than that sewage pipe’. However many are able to see the trials of being a woman and facing an unwanted pregnancy, especially with such severe consequences. In China there is a one child policy in order to avoid overpopulation, this means that abortion is readily available and extensively used, however not always affordable. As the Global Times bluntly stated ‘In places where these births are penalised, more cases of abortions and infant abandonment may occur due to these punishments and the associated stigma’.

There is a fear that there will be an increase in abortions and worse still abandonment of infants, indeed another case was reported only a month before. In this instance an infant was discovered in a bin. He is subsequently thought to have passed away. It is more likely to be girls or disabled infants that are abandoned as there is a preference for boys. Over 10,000 infants have been reported as abandoned in the past decade. As an article in the Global Times highlighted Chinese legislation ‘only penalises mothers while ignoring the responsibilities of the fathers. It only seriously affects the poor while having almost no impact on the rich. It undermines social fairness’.

In the latest incident the child has been reunited with his mother and grandparents, but they won’t receive any official support. An appeal has been underway for the family to be left alone so the baby can have a normal life. The mother was kept in hospital with high fever, but is now recovering well.

It is this writer’s opinion that China is unscrupulously corrupt; the fact they have regulations on how many children you can have is extreme, but necessary as the country is over populated. Their sexist views and preference of boys is not only degrading but wretched as it’s based on the passing of the family name. Abortions should be made readily available and possibly even free with such a law in place. However, with China being such a religious country, sex outside of marriage is frowned upon and the laws have been in place for a number of years. Should the mother of ‘Baby 59’ be held accountable?


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October 2021
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