The Chinese government has used several methods to control population growth. In 1979, China started the “one child per family policy” (Juali Li 563). This policy stated that citizens must obtain a birth certificate before the birth of their children. The citizens would be offered special benefits if they agreed to have only one child. Citizens who did have more than one child would either be taxed an amount up to fifty percent of their income, or punished by loss of employment or other benefits (Hilali 10). Furthermore, unplanned pregnancies or pregnancies without the proper authorization would need to be terminated (Hilali 9). In 1980, the birth-quota system was established to monitor population growth(Jiali Li 563). Under this system, the government set target goals for each region. Local officials were mainly held responsible for making sure that population growth totals did not exceed target goals. If target goals were not met, the local officials were punished by law or by loss of privileges.
Other methods that have been used by the Chinese government to restrict rising population totals include birth control programs and economic changes. In the early ’80’s, sterilization target goals were set and made mandatory for people who had two children (Hilali 19). At its peak in 1983, tubal ligations, vasectomies, and abortions amounted to thirty-five percent of the total birth control methods (Hilali 20). In addition, the economy changed from primarily one of agriculture to industry (Hilali 22). The government used this to its advantage; spreading the view that economic growth would hinder population growth (Hilali 22).