From one-child policy to three-child initiative: a feminist critique of the population planning policies in China

Ming Zhang, Chi Zhang*, Yuxin Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This article examines the continuity of heteropatriarchal discourse within China’s population policies, focusing on the transition from the one-child policy to the current three-children initiative, and women’s responses to these official narratives. Through the lens of Foucauldian bio-politics, the study explores how discursive practices surrounding family planning policy are manipulated to sustain authoritarian rule, linking it with loyalty to the state and fostering an anti-feminist support base that attributes collective feminist movements to “excessive education.” The “optimization” of the family planning policy is analyzed as a discursive construct that conceals dehumanizing policies reducing women to mere reproductive machines, and portraying children solely as future labor force. This paper argues that the digital feminist movement in China is sustained by women’s constant engagement with, and resistance against official narratives that co-opt feminism to serve the state’s bio-political agenda of managing and controlling the female body.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbertcae014
Number of pages9
JournalCommunication, Culture and Critique
VolumeEarly View
Early online date31 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2024

Keywords

  • Population politics
  • Heteropatriarchal discourse
  • One-child policy
  • Foucauldian bio-politics
  • Digital feminist campagin

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