Hi everyone, this is Amber (Kexin Chen). I found an interesting article about Chinese One-child Policy published in The New York Times in May 2013. It is worth to share not only because of the controversial of this topic, but also because of the background of the author, Ma Jian, and the methods he used to argue against the policy.
Firstly I would like to give some information of the one-child policy in case some people may not be familiar with that. The policy was introduced since 1979 and continued currently. According to the one-child policy, a couple can only have one child in China. There were many exceptions though, for example, minorities were not included and rural families were allowed to have one more if the first child was a girl, or a boy with disability. The policy received many criticisms once it was carried out, however, there have been tons of evidences found to be the demonstrations of its efficiency and effectiveness of controlling the growth of Chinese population.
The article "China's Brutal One-Child Policy" criticized the policy by providing several evidences to suggest that Chinese people, especially those poor rural women and baby girls, were treated extremely cruel because of the policy, and it was unnecessarily for the policy to carry out because the growth of population would still decrease according to the statistics the author provided. The author firstly suggested that in China, wealthy people could avoid the policy and still had as many children as they wanted by paying penalty. Comparing to that, poor people, especially from rural areas where male work forces were desired to have to support the families, would suffer a lot. They had no money to pay the penalty, so they tried to give birth to their second child secretly. However, women who got pregnant without permission would be forced to abortion, which was extremely harmful and cruel. Then, Ma Jian started to talk about why the policy was not necessary. The statistics he provided suggested that the growth of Chinese population would decline even if there were no such policies applied. He blamed the Communist Party for trying to control people's lives firmly by carrying out this policy and deemed that the one-child policy should be stopped imperatively.
I think Ma Jian's argument is very descriptive and detailed. He started from a specific affair happened on a public figure, Zhang Yimou, to draw audiences' attentions. He described how those rural women suffered from compulsive abortions to create sympathy and used effectual data to suggest there was not necessary for the government to carry out this brutal policy. His evidences firmly supported his claim. However, he missed the rebuttal the argument, which I personally believe to be a very essential part. Besides, his background makes audiences question his purpose of writing this article.
As I introduced in my first paper, "Ma Jian is a Chinese writer, as well as a critic of Chinese government and the Communist Party. He stands at the position against the Chinese government and his books, talking about some Chinese taboo topics in politics such as the political environment in Tibet and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, were banned by the Chinese government and because of these prohibitions, he moved to London since 1987 (Asian Dynamics Initiative). I believe his background may be relevant because his dislike for the Chinese Communist Party can possibly affect his opinions on the policies that made by the Party, for instance, the one-child policy". Certainly, we cannot simply decide an article to be biased because of the author's background. But I think this is also a very important component of judgment to consider.
Also, I want to mention that currently Chinese government implements the one-child policy more flexibly by stipulating that couples are allowed to have up to two children if they both come from one-child families, which means they have no brothers nor sisters themselves.
Here is the link of the article "China's Brutal One-Child Policy" written by Ma Jian: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/22/opinion/chinas-brutal-one-child-policy.html?_r=1&
Asian Dynamics Initiative. "Chinese Literature and the Writings of Exile." Asian Dynamics Initiative. University of Copenhagen, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. http:// asiandynamics.ku.dk/english/activities/calendar/archive/ma_jian/