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Zhang Yimou investigation and China`s One-Child Debate

Posted May. 11, 2013 02:44,   


The post-1980s generation is regarded as a turning point in Chinese modern art. While previous generations liked to speak about issues of the time, this new generation artists who enjoyed material affluence expressed deep self-centered propensity. They are also the key customer group of China`s economy and the biggest contributor to growing department stores in Korea among inbound Chinese tourists.

After Mao Zedong who had said national power is proportional to population stepped down, Deng Xiaoping, who led China`s reform and opening, promoted a strong policy of low birthrate since the end of 1970s. This was China`s one-child policy that led the birth of the post-1980s generation. Excluding minority population, a family having two or more children had to pay huge penalty related to income. It has become a trend of six adults, including parents, two grandfathers and two grandmothers, raising one precious child. Dubbed "small emperors," these children now form the core of Chinese society.

Due to forced population control policy, China`s population growth fell to the 0.5 percent level. However, forced abortion and surging number of abandoned children gave rise to disputes of human rights infringement. Rich new generations opted to pay penalty and raise more than one child, while others went to foreign country to give birth and get foreign nationality. Concerns spread that the resulting decline in labor force and rapidly aging population could hamper economic growth. Indeed, the one-child policy is sparking heated debate in China.

China’s celebrated film director Zhang Yimou, who directed "Red Sorghum" and "The Road Home" and the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony," is under investigation for a potential violation of family planning. He allegedly has a daughter with his first wife, two sons and a daughter with his second wife, and seven other children with other four women without marriage. If he is found to have violated the laws, he could be fined nearly 27 U.S. million dollars. Low-income people are forced with abortion even though they want to have more children, while famous people who have both wealth and reputation are living in a whole different world. The disparities between rich and poor is the huge potential hamper to Chinese society.

Editorial Writer Koh Mi-seok (mskoh119@donga.com)