People can find loopholes in almost any law, and it is interesting to read about the creative ways in which they do so!

China’s one-child policy is well-known. This rule was introduced in the 1970s and there are only a few exceptions. The rule is relaxed if both parents are only children, and in some other cases in rural areas.

But for the most part, the one child policy forbids urban couples from having more than one child.

So it was amusing to read about the recently held annual Twins’ Cultural Festival, the sixth of its kind to be held in Beijing.

Some 500 sets of twins, triplets, etc. attended the festival.

“State run Xinhua News agency quoted local media from several regions in China as saying that the birth rate of twins recorded in several hospitals had risen in recent years.Apparently, some Chinese couples have turned to fertility drugs to try to “beat the system“.

Middle-aged twin Yuan Dali said “If you have twins it’s not against the (one child) policy and you still get the benefits, plus the child will have a companion. It’s great for a child’s development. People should know what it’s like to have siblings.”

This reminds us of Sanjay Gandhi’s compulsory sterilization programme.During the infamous Emergency of 1975-77, declared by the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, “Sanjay publicly initiated a widespread family planning program to limit population growth“.

But this resulted in government officials and police officers forcibly performing vasectomies in order to meet quotas and in some cases, sterilizing women as well. Officially, men with two children or more had to submit to sterilization, but many unmarried young men, political opponents and ignorant, poor men were also believed to have been sterilized.”

It is thought that this created a long-lasting opposition to family planning in the minds of the general public, and made it difficult to implement family planning programmes later on.

Just goes to show- compulsion is never effective in the long run!