China 3 Essay, Research Paper
Although in the past the influence of the family in China was
weakened due to Communist leaders, today it is the basic structure of
Chinese society. The Chinese family has managed to survive the vast
changes of the past quarter century. It still remains the basic social unit.
China’s population is extremely large, therefore it adopted the one –
child – per – family policy( Ahmad,93). To enforce this policy the
Government set up strict penalties and rewards. Families that insisted
on having more than one child are fined and only receive small portions
of food for their second child. The families that excepted it benefited
greatly. They get wage increases, and a chance for a better more
The success of this policy varies in different areas. In the cities
many families still only have one child. But for the farmers and
peasants, more kids means extra labor so they often have more than
one kid. In rural areas the traditional family consisted of the head of the
household, his sons, and their wives and children, often all living under
Land, the main form of wealth in traditional China, was divided
equally among all the landowners surviving sons when he died. Living
conditions for the average peasant are generally better today then they
were in the past. There are more opportunities for education and
greater security for the family as social unit.
Marriage in China has also changed. Today there is a law that
provides for the freedom of choice in marriages. This law also states
that men and woman are equal, therefore a man can no longer
dominate a woman. There are also no more arranged marriages.
The elderly in China still hold their esteem, they are thought to be
wise and have the best advice. Today, family members still get
together to celebrate the spring festival, the traditional time for honoring
their ancestors. In the old days the head of the clan was usually some
kind of imperial official. Today only the names are changed. Chinese
farmers go along with communist organization of agriculture because it
follows family lines(Constable, 84).
One family problem facing the Government is the widespread
desire for male children. If the first child was a girl, she may be
neglected. Some incidents of Infanticide, have been reported in cases
of female children. This happens because most people still want sons
to carry on the male family name and for the heavy labor necessary on
rural farms. Because of this lack of cooperation with the one- child- per-
family policy China’s population continues to grow rapidly.
Today some rural families are still likely to have three generations
under one roof. Despite state ownership of the land, they once again
serve as basic production units. The Production Responsibility System
wrote in 1978(Comptons,95) permits individual families to contract with
their local production team or brigade to lease land for farming.
Production quotes are also contracted, whatever is left after taxes are
paid and the quotes are met belongs to the family. If the family works
hard it can produce a surplus for consumption or sale. This program
was designed to strengthen the role of the traditional family as a
consuming or producing unit.
Families in the city are usually smaller. Since both parents work,
the children are left in day – care centers or schools. Because of the
work situation a husband and wife may see each other only rarely.
Despite such problems family life in the city is stable, and family ties
continue to play a major role in the lives of both parents and children.