Male Chauvinism in China before 1980s
Male chauvinism in China has been remaining the problem attracting the special attention since the time of Confucius till modern period. The Confucian philosophy has played the key role in China and remains there even in modern circumstances. Flowing from this point, social conditions changed its form according to political needs and regulations through the time and now reveal a range of problems related to the demographic situation and the status of a family as the unit of healthy and developing society. The Chinese government decided to implement the one-child policy trying to follow the economic and political agenda. But it was impossible to imagine what consequences such actions will have and how they will reflect on the whole Chinese society. This paper is focused on the investigation of the significant issue of the social and demographic situation in China further development with taking into consideration the historical and political aspects beginning from the middle of 20th century and regarding present results and how it would develop in the future.
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Besides the long history, the male chauvinism in China has many reasons and in different situations played the background role or strengthening factor since the time of BC. The views on the family culture and the roles of men and women appeared long ago before the one-child policy implementation. Despite of the modern development of the world community in different aspects, the Chinese traditional patriarchic social pattern still influences the modern demographic conditions and causes many outcomes of the one-child policy including forced abortions, female babies abandonment, and so-called definition of straight man cancer'. The traditions and mostly the economic situation impacted the whole countrys state and caused launching the controversial and harmful policy enhancing the violation of womens rights and liberty even nowadays. Unfortunately, the old consciousness cannot be changed but, together with seeking for the political and economic problems resolution, it constrains the Chinese population to comply with it. There are many materials devoted to the investigation of the complex Chinese problem and containing all the necessary for the research information from real facts and stories to historical references, in particular on the social, political, demographic, and economic issues that could be used in the paper for the integrated analysis.
The Eastern, in particular Chinese, philosophy attracts many followers all over the world. Undoubtedly, the integral unit of two opposite energies of Ying and Yang contain the great and deep meaning (Gender in Chinese Philosophy n.d.). However, embodying the unit can occur only when the opposition exists, and it explains the reasons for rough gender division and its roles. As far as a man bears the characteristics of a leader and a breadwinner, a woman cannot behave as a man because she has another destination. The Confucian's philosophy determined the family culture long ago with the man representing the person who rules and controls everything in the external world, and the woman running the household and looking after children who obviously, plays the smaller role in a social life. And it remains as the main life principle of Chinese people gradually revealing in the changing policies related to the birth planning.
Thus, the Chinese political and social life is often predestinated by those traditions. The male chauvinism continued to stay at the high level but, in the conditions of different policies implementations, it served as the background that enhanced conduction of policy that is harmful for women including the unborn yet. However, at the beginning of the People's Republic of Chinas existence, Mao Zedong was intended to enlarge the manpower, thus, it led even to the restriction of contraceptives (Clarke 2015). The first attempts of birth control implementation were taken in 1956. The world was frightened by the Chinese population counted 600 billion. Mao Zedong was not the kind of person who overstated the situation and considered a birth as the appearance of new working hands necessary for the industrialization. The main position of Chairman Mao included the statement claiming that the more working hands China has, the more industry volume and stockpile are. China was about to experience the Great Leap, the grand-scale industrial revolution. Besides this, execrating the Khrushchev's policy of peaceful co-existing, Mao prepared to the nuclear war. He supposed China would survive even with the loss of 500 million in this slaughter. Furthermore, before the official break with the USSR, Mao affirmed that the nuclear war is not frightful even if it causes the death of a half of the population of the planet because it would help to fight the imperialism (Sino-Soviet Split Document Archive n.d.). In addition, Chairman Mao did not worry much about the attitude of the Chinese saying that the folk is similar to the empty sheet of paper allowing writing any hieroglyphs. The policy oriented only on receiving the political benefits is doomed to failure in any case. The manpower cannot survive and work without the food supply. Thus, it began Great Chinese Famine with dozens of millions killed.
In such circumstances, the necessity to take control over birth appeared, and since 1979 the one-child policy was implemented by the Chinese Government. All couples were forbidden to have more than one baby. Otherwise, the mothers could be forced to have abortions or sterilization; in other words, everything was focused on avoiding the population enlargement (Clarke 2015). Moreover, sex-biased abortions were widely spread in China since the male child was more wanted than a girl (Kristof 2016). Furthermore, family planning gave particular authorized bodies the possibility to intervene into the private life of citizens, pursue them, and earn money for revealing the non-permissively born child.
Constitution of the People's Republic of China adopted in 1982 contained the article 25 affirming the country encourages the family planning to make the population comply with social and economic development plans. In spite of the mixed characteristics of the Chinese economy and market changes, the birth planning appears extremely rough. According to the article 9 of PRC Law about population and family planning, the State Council prepares the population development plans and includes them in social and economic development plans ("Population and Family Planning Law of the People's Republic of China (Order of the President No.63)" 2001). The local and sub-local governments also prepare such plans for social and economic development in their territories taking the nationwide plan as a basis and taking into account local specifications. In substance, the notion of a family in such a planning system seems to be a socially owned enterprise in the administratively planned national economy. In compliance with the article 49 of Constitution of PRC taking the measures of family planning is the duty of a family (Constitution of People's Republic of China n.d.). Thus, the Chinese understanding of the family planning term significantly differs from the Western one.
During the quarter when the one-child policy was conducted, the aggregated birth rate in the People's Republic of China decreased from 2,75 in 1979 to 1,7. It means that the generation of children that are born in China nowadays does not substitute fully the generation of their parents. However, the Chinese population continues to grow but slowly. It increases for 6 million annually with the growth rate of 0,6% every year (Coale 1981). The mechanically continuing population growth in China caused by the natural population incensement determined not by the replacement of parent's generation by the childrens generation but rather the replacement of the dead by the born. In other words, since the Chinese population was growing in the geometrical sequence, the generation of parents is bigger than grandparent's generation. Being relatively young, the population of China will produce more births than deaths for decades even in the circumstances of the narrowed reproduction. According to another predictive estimation, the population of China will never reach the edge of one and a half billion. The peak will be passed in 2032 counting 1462 billion (PopulationPyramid.net n.d.). There is a different height of this peak counting 1,6 billion pointed in the coordinated decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China dated March 2, 2000. Thus, the logical question about the conditions that determined the decline of birth in China emerges: whether they are dependent on the implemented demographic policy or the result of the socio-economic development of the country. The convincing statistics demonstrates that both factors have played the key role in the current situation.
For today, the one-child policy is finally cancelled, and now couples can have two babies. But it does not dramatically impact on the demographical circumstances as one could suppose. At first, the number of born boys is still higher than the number of girls. Secondly, the reconstruction of the demographic situation takes more time than five years. The generations and their development can be predicted in decades (Clarke 2015). In fact, it means that a real number of children can be much higher. For example, the couple was allowed to have more than one child in the case of twins or triplets or female baby birth that indicates keeping the male chauvinism tendency. The couple where both of spouses are the only children in their families can also have two babies. Unfortunately, the softened policy cannot make the Chinese happy because of pecuniary burdens occurring while growing children. Furthermore, there is a need to provide moral motivation besides of the material one. In other words, the Chinese government should change the approach to their citizens toward the family planning created by their wish during the last three decades.
The one-child policy cancel has not resolved the problem of the male chauvinism. Moreover, it still exists and is opposed by women community and is called the "straight man cancer" (Steinfeld 2015). Today the Chinese women face the difficulties with finding a job due to the gender discrimination, and they often suffer the domestic abuse, as the surveys showed. Moreover, more than 50 percent of the Chinese wives are sexually or physically abused by their husbands (Steinfeld 2015). It was not even clear whether it would be better to marry somebody or stay single and make a career. Besides all of the problems women have, one can notice that there is the low self-appraisal among women, and they seem to take it for granted. However, the phenomenon of widespread "straight man cancer" becomes not only one more subject to discuss on the Internet. It becomes the event that some women begin to fight against and campaign for their rights and liberty. And as a result, some attempts have success. For example, such struggle has helped to release the domestic violence law in China. The cases of its practical adoption are still rare, but anyhow, the fact of women beginning to protect their rights gives a hope of rethinking the role of a woman in the Chinese society.
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The integrated analysis helped to investigate the further ways of the Chinese social and demographic development taking into account the historical and political aspects as the movers of the birth control. The male chauvinism in China does not reveal roughly in some aspects. It plays the role of steady background depending on the different situations. The observation of the past causes influencing present conditions points on the wrong actions of the previous governments. The range of problems China faces needs the immediate reaction, but unfortunately, it will take much time to complete the resolution for those obstacles. Gender discrimination, sexual and physical abuses, and violence do not demonstrate the healthy society; in fact, it shows the contrary. It also can ignite new persuasions of political needs and fundamentalism. Declining the one-child policy has not helped to overcome all the difficulties accumulated during the decades. However, the one-child policy cancel can be one of the steps to the recovery of China.