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Overpopulation in ChinaChina is one of the largest countries in the world by population and landmass, with over 1.4 billion citizens and 9.6 million kilometers of land. Overpopulation in China has resulted in the difficulty to sustain a quality of living that a majority of citizens would prefer. For example, China is also home to the 4th largest desert in the world, the Gobi Desert. With a growing population and aging citizens, how will China account for the density and demands of its citizens?

Top 10 Facts About Overpopulation in China

  1. China has the world’s largest megalopolis – A region in China known as the Pearl River Delta houses nine major cities and administrative districts. The Pearl River Delta has a population of more than 105 million. It also has a GDP larger than the entire population of Indonesia. With a massive amount of wealth and a growing population, there are concerns about pricing out long-time residents in favor of wealthy newcomers.
  2. Urbanization is a driving factor – China’s metropolitan and modern citizens are no different in terms of their housing desires when compared to urban western citizens. Many housing blocks in administrative regions such as Hong Kong have an illegal housing market to combat the lack of legal housing available. This opportunistic and morally-questionable market takes advantage of poorer, blue-collar workers who pay exorbitant prices in relation to their accommodations to remain in the city for work.
  3. China’s population and land statistics are relatively average versus western countries – With the world’s largest population and a large amount of land, one would think China could solve its population crisis easily. However, statistics from Business Insider show that for every square kilometer in China, there are 139.6 people. For every square mile, the number nearly triples. A majority of citizens desire to live in cities rather than in rural regions.
  4. China’s large population is declining – According to a report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China’s population will peak in 2030 and begin declining as early as 2027. The reason for this decline is the lack of children being born in large part due to the one-child policy. The one-child policy was maintained for years. Due to cultural differences, Chinese families preferred having boys to girls. Now, China is the only country in the world with more men than women.
  5. Aging will be a massive issue for China in the long run – A 2016 report from China’s National Bureau of Statistics released data predicting that 25 percent of China’s population will be over the age of 60 by 2030.
    Conversely, the working-age population will have decreased by 80 million citizens by 2030. Population control in the early 1980s, when the one-child policy was first implemented, is to blame for the decreasing numbers.
  6. China is establishing new cities – In order to curb the expanding population and desire for modern, urban lifestyles, China has taken to constructing new metropolitan areas. A 2017 announcement from the Chinese government stated that the Xiongan New Area will be established to alleviate overcrowding in Beijing. This project is expected to have a positive economic effect on the country with a mass surge of housing purchases in the Xiongan New Area following the announcement.
  7. Population control is being used in the largest cities – In Shanghai and Beijing, the Chinese government is implementing a cap on the populations. A cap of just over 50 million will allow citizens to live within the boundaries of these cities. However, migrants and citizens disenchanted by or looked down on by the government are being disproportionately pushed out of the cities.
  8. The global economy is in danger due to falling fertility rates – A 2019 report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has predicted the population to decline by roughly 200 million by 2065. This dramatic decrease in population size is due to the nature of modernizing citizens pursuing careers and stability over a family. An estimate made from the academy stated that a rate of 2.1 children minimum per woman is necessary to maintain the working population.
  9. The government provides and enforces medical options to control the overpopulation in ChinaThe 1980s saw the first fears of overpopulation come to light. The one-child policy was one aspect of controlling those fears, and another was the use of birth control. The Chinese government originally used abortion, sterilization and vasectomies. Today, the government focuses on similar methods of population control.
  10. In all likelihood, overpopulation in China is not a long-term issue – Many organizations and think tanks have calculated that a population bust will occur all over the world. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is one such organization to have predicted this population bust all across China. The variety of factors that contribute to this decline come from changing cultural, social and financial factors.

While overpopulation in China does face its large cities, in general, it is not a threat to the country. Population decline, however, could affect the country to a much larger degree, economically.

-Zach Margolis
Photo: Flickr

Ten Facts about Refugees in China
Refugees are displaced individuals that are forced to flee their homes in order to look for greener pastures. Because of the crisis in Syria, China has been asked to take in thousands of refugees that are trying to escape. There are a plethora of misconceptions that arise when it comes to refugees. Here are ten facts about refugees in China that will shed some light on the matter:

1. Large Variety of Refugees

An increased number of foreigners are making their way to China from all around the globe which makes the country’s refugee pool very diverse. China is a world power and has been modernizing itself for some time now. Their economy, cost friendly living expenses and studious universities make it a promising place for refugees to escape the turmoil. According to an article written by Heidi Haugen, the vast majority of refugees are from “the Republic of Korea, the U.S., Japan, Burma and Vietnam.”

2. The Number of Refugees

China hosts approximately 300,000 refugees. This is not a very large number when one considers the total population of China, which is currently at 1.38 billion. That is almost 20 percent of the earth’s population. Of those 300,000 refugees, less than 30 are Syrian refugees. This explains why many countries are urging China to take in more Syrian Refugees.

3. The Acceptance

Although China is reluctant to let in Syrian refugees at this instance, statistics show their citizens are very accepting. A collaborative survey conducted by Amnesty International and consultancy GlobeScan found that “94 percent of the population said they would welcome them into the country while 46 percent said they would welcome them into their homes.” This revealing survey points out the conundrum the Chinese government is facing. It is clear that the public perception of Syrian refugees is not on par with the political policies in place.

4. Asylum Claims

The Exit-Entry law that was first enacted in 1985 did not include the right for refugees to apply for asylum. As a country that originated from numerous international asylum seekers, this seemed very unusual. In the year 2012, the Exit-Entry Law was amended so it would include “provisions for persons to apply for refugee status and remain in the country during the screening of their applications.”

5. Refugees Can Prosper

Refugees in China have been known to prosper. When the Vietnamese wanted to enter China at the height of the exodus, 100,000 people were allowed access into China. They came in through the border town called Dongxing in Guangxi. There was a massive effort to empty schools, homes and even government buildings in order to house them. The High Commissioner for Refugees at the U.N., António Guterres, called it “one of the most successful integration programs in the world”. Stories such as this give refugees hope that China will be just as generous upon their arrival.

6. Syrian Refugee Denial

Refugees from Syria are currently being denied. By the end of Aug. 2015, there were only nine refugees in China and 26 others seeking asylum. Even if China accepted 4.7 million refugees, that would equal 3.5 refugees for every 1,000 citizens.

7. Fault of Western Countries

China has the most space for refugees based on its population and land size, but continues to not take action. China blames the western countries for the refugee problem. They claim that the democratization of the U.S. and its allies are the cause of the current refugee problem. They even blamed the western countries for the drowning death of a Syrian boy whose body was found on the beach.

8. Population Control

It is well documented that China has placed regulations on childbirth. A fear of overpopulation has caused them to limit families to only one baby. Numerous abortions and sterilizations have been executed over the decades, because of this. Even though the current fear isn’t as high as it once was, this does play a factor in the government’s willingness to accept refugees.

9. Refugee Hardships

Many refugees who have obtained visas have found themselves trapped within the borders of China. In order to obtain an exit visa, one must have the support of housing registrations. This requires the refugee to have valid travel documents. This leads to the purchasing of false documents and can easily lead to refugees being arrested. Both of these methods will cost a great deal of money.

10. Unauthorized Refugees

Unauthorized refugees are often subjected to trafficking. Women are forced into forms of bondage, prostitution and stripped of their rights as free citizens. Although the trafficking in Persons Protocol was ratified by China in Dec. of 2009, “the 2012 Exit-Entry Law does not contain provisions for trafficking victims or conform to international standards in this area.”

It is important to fully understand the facts about refugees before assumptions are made. Refugees are people too and they are trying to make the most out of tragic situations.

Terry J. Halloran

Photo: Flickr

vaginal_ringThe World Health Organization has included the progesterone contraceptive vaginal ring (CVR) on its 2015 Essential Medicines List.

Developed by the Population Council, this contraception method is unique because it is safe and effective for lactating women after they have given birth. It can be used as early as four weeks after childbirth for up to one year in order to space out potential future births.

Birth spacing is important for the health of mother and child. Maternal death and other health complications are more likely to arise with short intervals between births. In addition, family planning can help parents to plan finances related to family expansion. Family planning is critical to poverty reduction. When families do not have the knowledge or ability to space births, particularly in developing countries, they may also lack the resources to support these children.

The vaginal ring is 98.5 percent effective in preventing pregnancy with proper use. The ring can be inserted and removed by the mother. This translates to less doctor visits, which are known to strain family resources, such as time and money, in developing countries.

The ring releases progesterone, but does not interfere with breast milk production. In this way, it is unlike oral contraceptives, which contain estrogen and cannot be used by lactating women.

This method is currently used in Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, and Peru. Currently, studies in India and Sub-Saharan Africa are underway in order to determine if it could be effective in these regions as well.

The inclusion of this method on the list from the World Health Organization’s list suggests that it is likely to be more accessible to communities in the near future. The CVR is effective, safe, and inexpensive. Medical services can be difficult to reach in developing countries, but the CVR places very few demands on doctors.

The Population Council is currently developing another vaginal ring that will not have to be replaced every 3 months. It would last for one year. This would make this contraceptive method even more appropriate for the developing world.

In the future, we may even see vaginal rings that can protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, in addition to its contraceptive function. This exciting new technology has the potential to address many of the global health problems our world faces today.

Iliana Lang

Sources: WHO, Population Council, Impatient Optimists
Photo: Impatient Optimists

population_control
Efforts in population control in China are being called acts of genocide by many. The One Child policy that has existed for the last 35 years, though it has done what it intended to do, is considered by many activists as a violent crime against humanity.

The One Child policy was implemented in China as a response to the rapid population growth leading up to the 1980s. The country faced extreme poverty and hunger because of the exponential growth of Chinese people. Thus, the government created the One Child policy, which allowed a majority of the population to only have one child per family.

This has been discussed as a great controversy among scholars and other nations, debating just how humane and just a law that limits people from having children can be. In fact, some have labeled such a policy as an “act of genocide,” as is the case with Chen Guangcheng, who argues that the United Nations should investigate these attempts at population control with regards to inhumane treatment of the people of China.

Despite the controversy of the act, China’s population growth did decrease drastically over the years. However, the manner in which the population has decreased and the dropping child birth rate has had a detrimental impact on the overall population.

A large portion of the population is getting older and finding themselves in the elderly category, while the number of young people is lower than it has been in a very long time. This means there are significantly fewer people in the work force throughout the country; a drastic number of people are leaving the work force with old age, and fewer people making up for the loss. This is all a result of the One Child policy, which drastically decreased the population in very specific generations of people.

That being said, China has finally begun to ease the severity in which these policies have been held to by the Chinese governments. Many families are now able to have two children instead of just one, a policy change made by China in hopes to fix the negative impacts that the One Child policy has had over 35 years. The question is: is this change in policy being made too late?

Alexandrea Jacinto

Sources: CNN, Life News
Photo: The Indian Express

drop_of_water
Water is essential to all life, a phrase often repeated, yet the fact remains that over 800 million people cannot access potable water every day. 2.5 billion do not have adequate sanitation increasing the likelihood of disease not just in that region but globally, an issue that goes hand in hand with poor access to water. Every year, 3.4 million die of water related diseases, equivalent to the population of Los Angeles.

When successful potable water projects enter a community, it has been shown to have beneficial impacts across many aspects of that communities life. In truth, it lies at the heart of the most cost effective and efficient solutions to global health, population growth, poverty, disease and climate change. The World Health Organization estimates a return of 3-34$ for every dollar invested in a clean water project, given the technology and region.

With such powerful ramifications, the debate on how best to approach this problem is an important one. Over the past 20 years, there have been two main approaches, that of charity/micro-finance projects, and the privatization model, the most famous case taking place in Cochamamba, Belize. Both have their critics.

There is now a third approach, a more holistic one, that considers unique environmental and cultural factors. Overall it has been coined as the Investment in Watershed Services strategy, and it combines tactics from the previous two long standing frameworks for improving access to potable water.

With the latest solution, initial capital for a given project is invested directly to farmers, or potential land owners in the natural watersheds of a given area. The money is used to clean up and maintain the natural functions of the watershed, which perform the same functions of treatment plants or ‘grey’ technologies without the expensive equipment.

Nonprofits and communities all over the world are recognizing the value in this framework as it  creates a co-dependent and cyclical dynamic with downstream water users and polluters funding and investing in the upstream maintenance. The headliner project of this nature is New York ongoing investment in the Catskills Mountains. New York municipality pays for riverbank protection and maintenance that have allowed it to save billions on costly filtration plants. However, there are projects all over the world at all different scales using the very same framework.

By not having environmental damage and natural resources as an externality in the financing of the project, many positive side effects occur wherever these projects are enacted. Aside from addressing the initial issue of access to clean water. The enhanced environmental and farming practices that make up the foundation of this approach, increase food yields and improve the natural habitat.

For more information on the overall framework of the strategy, ongoing projects or how to become involved, go to the Watershed Connect website.

– Tyler Shafsky

Sources: Watershed Connect, USAID, Huffington Post
Photo: Wanah Fong

crowded_world
We currently stand with a global population of around 7.2 billion people and that number is expected to rise over the next few decades. A United Nations agency has recently projected a world population growth of 9.6 billion people by 2050 and a continuation of this trend through 2100 with a projected population growth of 10.9 billion.

We can expect to see most of this growth in the developing world and will continue to see countries like China and India providing impressive growth figures. We will also see new countries emerge globally with significant populations. Nigeria is expected to surpass the United States by 2050, and could even compete with India and China in terms of population.

These numbers have implications for our global economy and for many issues of development and conflict.

Population demographics can impact the futures of nations and the trends of growth shape our shared economy in this age of post-globalization. A successful and thriving population is a healthy one with stable growth. Growth can mean more business activity and therefore more tax revenue. Conversely, if a growing population’s needs like social services and infrastructure cannot be met, population growth can lead to economic decline and political instability.

The vast majority of growth, both current and projected, is happening in Africa. World population growth is mostly happening in developing countries. When looking at the figures, nearly all of the states whose populations are growing at a rate of 2 percent per year or more are in Africa, with the majority of those in sub-Saharan Africa.

Similarly there has been high growth in countries in the Middle East. Populations on both continents have high fertility rates. Women in Africa are averaging more than five children per family. Additionally, recent improvements in health standards and development have led to higher life expectancy. Over the past few decades in Africa, there has been a significant decline in conflicts and wars, leading to more security and a better quality of life.

In addition to the growth in numbers in the developing world, there has been a decline in other populations globally. Europe has incredibly low figures of fertility, along with Japan, and has seen a decline in growth for decades. There has been a similar decline in Asian countries, which have been reporting slowing growth as well.

The truth to these projected figures and the actual world population growth we will experience lie in factors like development and government stability. So long as populations continue to grow, they will have needs as a society to be provided for and will require a stable government to administer to these needs.

The world population doubled from 1960 to 2000, and unless governments can more effectively implement policy that can keep food production and services at pace with growth, the results could be extreme and damaging. When burgeoning populations experience food insecurity and vulnerability, the cost can not only be measured by military budgets during war and food programs during famine but by government collapse and the loss of human life.

Nina Verfaillie
Feature Writer

Sources: Washington Post, Scientific American
Photo: Robert Filip