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Ethical analysis on the issue of ‘China’s one child policy’

Number of Words : 2507

Number of References : 12


  The specific ethical issue that would be analyzed and its importance as an ethical issue
  Relevant Facts and their reliability and authenticity
  Assumptions necessary to fill gaps in available facts
  Analysis of the ethical issue using act utilitarianism and identification of all relevant consequences and comparison of negative versus positive consequences and assessing whether net utility will rise or fall due to the ethical act being examined
  Application of Kant’s categorical imperative to this issue


The ethical issue that would be analyzed while examining China’s one child norm is whether this state policy should be judged in the light of consequentialist ethical theories or nonconsequentialist ethical theories. When Chinese authorities decided on one child norm they were of the opinion that unless population growth is controlled in this already highly populous country, the benefits of industrialization and economic progress would never have any tangible effect on Chinese population and thus adopted a nonconsequentialist approach in the sense that they overlooked individual aspirations and wishes of households and stifled freedom of couples to decide on the size of their families. One major offshoot of this policy was it ran counter to the commonly held Asian aspiration of having a boy for perpetuating the family line and thus resulted in a highly skewed gender ratio in China where nearly 117 male children are born for every 100 female children (Wiseman 2002). This has led to another equally serious issue with Chinese males complaining that marriageable Chinese females are choosing only those males that have comparatively higher social status and financial stability. An inevitable consequence of such a situation is forced marriages, bride trafficking, prostitution, and rape which though not so evident now would sooner rather than later burst out like boils in Chinese society. Moreover, these male children in one child families are becoming ‘little emperors’ who might not grow up as productive and contributive members of Chinese society (Vonk, Simms and Nackerud 1999). Chinese authorities possibly did not envisage these serious consequences when they implemented one child norm. <br />So, whether the policy has to be judged through the prism of consequentialist or nonconsequentialist ethical approach is the main issue that needs to be analyzed.<br />

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