China's aging population as a proportion of its total is around 9%, up sharply from
12 years ago when it was 7%. The government is concerned that, with an inadequate social system and increasingly more old people to feed than breadwinners in families, the One Child Policy could have laid the foundations for unrest. China still has the largest population in the world, at 1.37bn, and it has continued to grow, despite the state limiting most urban families to one child. The National
Bureau of Statistics said recently there are about 73m people more than there were a decade ago.
Only couples who are both single children can apply to have a second child, but this policy may be fine-tuned as the government takes notice of the effect of having a population that, in terms of age, is an inverted pyramid. There is pressure on health services and many of its 118m people over the age of 65 are struggling to get by.
Money, education, jobs vs loneliness
Tales of lonely suicidal elderly people are clearly tugging at government policymakers' heart strings. And then, there is that big, and growing, number of men who will not find women to marry.
But, China has a lot to be grateful for from an economic perspective in its One Child
Policy. With one child in a family, the parents are doting, pouring all their hardearned savings into giving that child the best education possible.
That, is no doubt, why so many Chinese youngsters are able to study for degrees at expensive universities around the world. Tens of thousands of young Chinese adults from all walks of life are graduating every year
The results are showing in the increasingly sophisticated technology being produced in China - like ultra-fast trains, space-craft and military hardware. And,
Chinese business players are becoming increasingly prominent in global terms.
Then, because there is only one child rather than several to feed, clothe and educate, these doting parents have money left over for themselves - hence the nation's famously high savings rate. Instead of wallowing in debt, the Chinese have surplus cash to spend on themselves and abroad. And, that in turn is good for domestic consumer spending and economic growth.
Protecting reproductive rights vs economic benefits
From an African perspective, having your reproductive system controlled by the state is an appalling prospect. We celebrate each new child, and it is generally the case of the more the merrier. When we fall pregnant "accidentally", we tend to resign ourselves to having another one as the will of a higher being.
In countries like South Africa, reproductive rights are enshrined in the Constitution.
No one has a right to tamper with the most personal aspects of our bodies at any cost. We would get angry, very angry, if we were fired from our jobs, lost our homes or were handed down fines that could bankrupt us because we had another child - as happens in China. We would resent the state forbidding us from trying again, for another gender.
Yet, ask a professional Chinese person what they think about the One Child Policy and they are likely to pledge support for the programme. Towing the Communist
Party line, which is essential to survive and thrive in the workplace, they will tell you it is good for the country.
Few individuals will admit to harbouring the desire for a second child. It is socially unacceptable to admit to wanting another, though there are also many people who are clearly very comfortable with the prospect of only ever having one child.