|Whether Overpopulation is China’s Most Urgent Problem
Our country is a developing country which is facing many problems. One of these is overpopulation. Thirty years ago it was said that the bigger the population was, the more efficiently things could be done. After that people gradually came to doubt the truth of this view.
In fact an excessive population is a heavy burden. Since 1949 we have hoped that our country will develop quickly. But compared with the increase in population our achievements are small. Our individual income is quite low, while on the whole the total income is high. Therefore the Chinese are still poorer than the people of a majority of countries.
The limited resources cannot support an excessively large population. Our land, the resources above the ground and underground, all are limited, while the production development and the rising living level are constantly exploiting these resources. They are declining rapidly, at such a rate that within a short time they will be used up. How can we support such a huge population with enough food, clothes and so on?
The most serious aspect of this is that we have the largest population in the world. Even if we try to control the birth-rate, our population is still increasing at a great speed, so that it is hard to find any short-term solution.
So whatever other problems need to be solved in China, there is no doubt that population control is an urgent necessity.
It is good for the whole world to see that China is developing rapidly in spite of the many problems which hinder her development. Admittedly some problems are very serious, such as over-population, limited natural resources, and the lack of arable land. However, it is said that over-population is the most urgent problem, and I have my doubts about this.
First, in my opinion, over-population is a problem met by many countries, both developing and developed countries. Many have a denser population than China. For example, the U.K. is two and a half times as densely populated as China. But the U.K. is richer than China. In fact over-population in China often appears in large cities such as Shanghai and Chengdu, while there are large areas of land that are not inhabited. So the problem is not so much the density of the population as the distribution.
Secondly, we must not lose sight of the fact that after about 20 years’ efforts to control the birth rate, China’s population is almost stable. Most people are willing to adopt family planning. This will be good for stabilizing the population of China.
Furthermore, there may certainly be limited natural resources, but if we use them reasonably, and distribute them fairly, we may still have the wherewithal for development.
Finally, in my opinion, too many people is not a problem in itself. The problem is how to educate people. If our people are full of knowledge, the development will come about more rapidly. So China’s urgent problem is not over-population, but how best to educate people, and how to make best use of the natural resources.
(The passages are selected, with minor changes, from Improve Your Writing, by A.C. Houston. Manuscript)