This semester I have become intrigued by the controversial one-child policy that exists in China. For nearly half a century, the policy has been in effect and limited the number of children that Chinese citizens can have in order to support population control. This subject relates directly to our classroom study of International Media because it reflects China’s lacking state of media due to political restraints.
Currently, online media outlets have been used to communicate developments to the law in the 21st century. However, these media outlets are regulated by their authoritarian government and are not independent. For example, last week, the Xinhua news agency published an article online that stated that Beijing would allow couples to have a second child if the mother or father was raised as an only child. The fact that this is a state media outlet indicates that opinions on controversial laws such as this are not explored within the country’s media. Instead, it is a very one-sided media landscape where the government presents the laws to its people and does not seek feedback or responses from them. For example, Chinese citizens cannot create a blog or tweet their thoughts about this policy because of the internet censorship imposed by China’s President, Xi Jinping. The penalty for discussing these issues publicly is jail time.
A media example of the one child policy can be seen in a recent documentary, It’s A Girl. The film focuses on how the policy has affected today’s families in China and the negative repercussions they face when they exceed the government’s child limits. The film’s director, Evan Grae Davis, said in an interview that he found it worthwhile to create media about this topic because in recent years the number of men in China has skyrocketed and surpassed the number on women in the country since men are seen as more favorable children to have. Davis wanted to educate film viewers on this global issue. This in itself indicates that there is a not an even flow of media from China into the United States because prior to this film, there was not extensive information available about the policy. Additionally, the reason behind why media attention has been given to China is because of the disproportionate male to female ratio that is present today. Overall, this topic is essential for reflecting upon Chinese media because awareness has been raised about the policy in recent years not only within China but also abroad in the United States.