A close look at how China controls its citizens

05 June 2017

The ways in which Chinese President Xi Jinping's regime controls its citizens has been put under the microscope in new research from The Australian National University (ANU), published in the fifth annual China Story Yearbook.

The book's editor Associate Professor Jane Golley, Deputy Director of the ANU Centre on China in the World, says most people think of government control as being negative, but it can also have positive outcomes.

She points to China's one-child policy, introduced in 1979 and discontinued in January 2016, as an example of policy that had positive economic impacts, despite its significant social costs.

"Over the first three decades of the one-child policy, fertility decline and its consequences can explain up to a quarter of China's per-capita GDP growth. So it achieved certain goals," Dr Golley said.

Dr Golley also points out that the one-child policy has been ranked among the top 5 factors contributing to global carbon dioxide emission reductions in recent decades.

"This implies that population control has environmental benefits, albeit alongside significant social - it's not as black and white as control being all bad," she said.

The China Story Yearbook also looks at the topics of China's economy, law enforcement and reform, environment, Internet, medicine, religion, education, historiography, foreign affairs, and culture as well as developments in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The China Story Yearbook is available free at the ANU Press website.

Image: BRLYYZ, Flickr

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Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team