Bearing the costs of children
As a China-born only child, I read with interest Yuwen Wu’s article about the changing demographics in my country (‘The Business of Babies’, July 2021).
The government has been using some interesting techniques to encourage people to have more children. I recently came across a school assignment in which school children were asked to write an essay ‘expressing the wish for another little brother or sister to your parents’.
Furthermore, at the graduation ceremony of Peking University, students were told: ‘Although we respect family diversity the most, we still call on younger students to uphold the traditional Chinese view of family. Forming a family and having children is not only a fundamental path to promote the sustainability of the Chinese nation from generation to generation, but also a way to enjoy the happiness of growing up and the joy of family life.’
However, I meet many people who do not seem to want to have children, or even fall in love or get married. High work pressure and expensive housing in the big cities have left the youngsters of today with little time to think about marriage and children.
I believe that in order to raise the fertility rate, the Chinese government should also increase support measures, such as more maternity benefits and paid maternity leave.
Reader of Asian Affairs in China
Name withheld, on request
Technical cricket is less of a test
I enjoyed reading M J Akbar’s brilliant narration on the future of cricket (‘Cricket in 2050’, July 2021).
I agree that in recent years the game of cricket has become synonymous with technology, partly due to an unending pursuit of scoring accuracy. There are hidden cameras fitted in stumps, microphones are attached to players on the field and there are even cameras inside the caps of umpires. MJ Akbar does not exaggerate when he says that the computer is always right!
My view is that tournaments such as T-20 have tapped on players’ talent and commercialised it. Players are induced to perform fast, uniform and impatient cricket, which is the exact opposite of what cricket was meant to be in the beginning. Test cricket, as the name suggests, is the test of players’ ability, patience, perseverance and class.
The immense popularity of the shorter format of the game has certainly led to reduced interest in test cricket. Now we are witnessing increasing numbers of tournaments like the T-20, not just in India but also in the Caribbean, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
International players who were once expected to render service to their country in test matches are often choosing instead to take part in these shorter tournaments, sometimes opting out of the national team.
Plight of exiles
Re. the recent Democracy Form webinar on political exiles from Pakistan and the role of the west in protecting them: this was one of the best seminars hosted by The Forum. Congratulations on the event, and the choice of these very knowledgeable speakers.
It gives a greater idea of the reasons why there are so many exiles, their plight and dependency on the host countries. Regrettably no one longed to go back to the home country and felt better abroad . The professor from Islamabad acquitted himself as one of the most learned and eloquent speakers.
India can learn from China’s approach to family life
China’s three child policy covered by Yuwen Wu (‘The Business of Babies’, July 2021) provided many useful insights into Chinese society. Family development and planning in China have always been quite different to other countries. As the piece showed, China has managed to control the population explosion through strict laws and penalties.
China’s multiple child policy is welcomed by relatively rich people who can afford decent housing, as is the case globally. Many people can’t afford more children.
In India, the urban-rural divide has a major impact on the way people decide the size of their families. As in China, it’s harder to afford a third or even a second child in urban situations.
Recently, the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh created controversy when it tried to introduce policies which seem similar to aspects of Chinese laws on the number of children people can have. Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, said that population control is the primary condition for the establishment of an advanced society.
Many have seen his proposed laws as a way of trying to reduce the size of Muslim families, as Muslims have a higher fertility rate in the state than other communities. Mr Adityanath often seems to express staunch Hindu-nationalist or anti-Muslim views.
However, the population growth rate in Uttar Pradesh is higher than the national average already and could reach more than 250 million people by 2031. It is already the most populous state with more than 15% of India’s population. I believe the bill shows the need for people of all religious groups and communities to respect the implications of a burgeoning population and act in a responsible way.
Tushar Ranjan Gautam
Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh