From one kid to none
BEIJING—China, the world’s most populous country, has long asked its people to practice family planning.
Now many young Chinese couples are going from one child to none, and less as a response to government orders, but as a lifestyle choice.
After six years of marriage, Cindy Yang, 28, is resolute on the matter. “A child is a lot of trouble,” said the employee of a foreign embassy in Beijing.
“The children of today are the center of attention for the whole family, with six people looking after them: two parents and two paris of grandaparents.”
A traditional Chinese proverb says: “ the worst ingratitude towards one’s parents is not to have a child.” But such thinking is being abandoned in the cities.
A March survey of nearly 720 women in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu suggested that nearly one-fifth do not want any children.
According to sociologist Li Yinhe, the rising cost of living is also deterring young couples from bearing young couples from bearing children. Education and health-care expenses are becoming dearer as China’s economic reforms take root.
But Li acknowledged that for many, increasing levels of affluence are making children an optional luxury. “They think that having a child will worsen their quality of life,” she said, adding that “the relation between husband and wife has become more important than the father-child relation.”
Wang Yang, 33, said his job as a television journalist left him no time to marry, or to start a family.
“It’s a question of freedom. I don’t have any responsibility towards anybody,” he said.
“My parents raise the subject sometimes, but they respect my decision. Society has learned how to respect the choice of the individula. It’s a sign of social progress.”