Impact of Birth Control Policy and Market Reform on Family Life and Fertility Trends in Rural China
Presented by Professor Hong Zhang, Colby Collage, Department of East Asian Studies.
Most studies on China's stringent birth control policy on rural China in the past three decades have focused on the resistance framework. Few have looked into whether Chinese peasant families are redefining and adapting their fertility behaviors due to both their interaction with the state policy and their experience of the rapidly changing social and economic environments in reform-era China. Based on the recent ethnographic study in a central China village (2002-2010), this presentation seeks to explore new fertility trends that indicate the shift from "active resistance against" to "conscious decision for" the one-child limit among rural families. In particular, this study discusses the newly emerging social, economic, and demographic factors that may have played a role in this new fertility shift, and the social implications of this fertility shift to the central tenet of son preference in Chinese culture, changing parent-daughter relations, new marriage patterns among the cohorts impacted by birth control policy, and the challenge to the norm of child-rearing as a means of securing old age support among rural families.