chapter  5
21 Pages

The Population Factor: China's Family Planning Policy in the 1990s

WithTyrene White

In 1980 China's leaders announced two economic goals for the year 2000: quadrupling the 1980 gross value of output and achieving a per capita gross national product of US$1,000. By the early 1970s, however, the population question was back on the agenda and China's first serious and sustained birth limitation campaign got under way. As Chinas leaders began to implement more far-reaching reforms in the 1980s, however, campaign methods were increasingly at odds with other regime goals, making it difficult to rely solely on "shock drives" to enforce the one-child limit. Village leaders, for example, who represent the first leg in China's system of family planning statistical reporting, falsified local records in order to avoid fines from above or confrontations within the village. In March 1990 a circular that spoke directly to this problem was issued by the Census Leading Group of the State Council, the State Family Planning Commission, and the Public Security Bureau.