Under the one-child policy, which was in effect in China from 1979 till just recently, the following exhortation posted on the wall of a village house in China would have been unthinkable:
So unthinkable would such a poster have been during the last three decades and more that I scarcely could believe my eyes when I saw it. Although I could read the characters, I experienced a kind of cognitive dissonance when I tried to make sense of what was written on the poster:
mǔnǚ tóng huái èr tāi bù chǒu
pòxì tóng shēng èr hái guāngróng
It is not disgraceful for a mother and daughter to have their second pregnancies at the same time;
it is glorious for a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law to give birth to their second child at the same time.
After decades of encouraging, enjoining, and enforcing women to have only a single child, the government is now shifting gears to a two-child policy. Why is this happening? Sheer demographics: geriatrification of the population and a decline in the work force in proportion to the number of people that must be supported.
No wonder that a netizen made the following cynical comment upon seeing this poster circulating on a microblog:
Dāng nǚxìng shì chùshēng a, gāi shēng de shíhou bù gěi shēng, děng niánjì dà wèi le rènwù yòu gèzhǒng bīzhe shēng.
This is to treat women as though they were beasts: not letting them give birth when they ought to give birth, then waiting till they’re old and using various means to compel them to give birth to fulfill a mission.
The four small characters at the bottom right of the poster read:
Yánglín cūn xuān 杨林村宣
(“Yanglin Village Propaganda”)
Propaganda in China comes in all shapes and sizes. Cf. “Rapaganda” (3/11/17), which also discusses “popaganda” and “pandaganda”.
[h.t. Mandy Chan; thanks to Fangyi Cheng and Yixue Yang]
Permalink: Two-child policy