John Oliver explains China’s one child policy and weighs the consequences

John Oliver (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
John Oliver (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images) /

With so much attention on China recently, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver decided to examine the country’s controversial one child policy.

China has been making headlines around the world for some time now. Between the trade war with the U.S. and the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, much of the public’s attention has turned towards the country. We can now count Last Week Tonight with John Oliver among those taking a closer look at China.

Other late night shows have discussed China in recent months. Typically this has been in reference to the trade dispute with the U.S. It has also typically only been covered to mock President Donald Trump and his love of tariffs as a solution to any trade negotiation.

The protests in Hong Kong have now affected the sports world. The Houston Rockets general manager voiced his support for protesters, putting his NBA team in a public relations whirlwind that ended with China suspending business relations with the Rockets.

This is all just to give a sense of how influential China is on the global scale regardless of the issue or whether it is a foreign or domestic situation. On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver looked inside the country to see how it’s one child policy actually affected the country.

Oliver frames the discussion within the context of China celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party’s founding. The one child policy was established in 1980 and the population control method only ended in 2015, the year we were given Pizza Rat according to Oliver’s calendar.

The Last Week Tonight host does an excellent job of explaining the Communist Party’s thinking behind the one child policy. It could not only improve China’s economic standing but also help the party retain its power. The political and economic benefits were prioritized over any concern about public health and the well-being of children.

Oliver also covers the more brutal aspects of family life under the one child policy. The preference for boys led to some dark decisions made by, and forced upon, Chinese families but Oliver doesn’t shy away from including these stories in the segment.

The piece goes on to look at how the population disparity between men and women has affected modern China. The consequences range from the development of a sex doll industry to the rise in human trafficking.

Overall, the segment is another example of what Last Week Tonight with John Oliver does so well and why it deserves every Emmy it wins. It goes in a different direction than other late night shows and presents what is an uncomfortable topic in an entertaining way without losing its point.

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The economic fallout from China’s trade war with the U.S. and the pro-democracy protests is something worth keeping an eye on as time passes. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver fans now have a better understanding of the challenges and consequences facing the country.