CN: Family Planning Posters: 70’s



Marry Late for the Revolution

To bring this about, a new model of family size was propagated, accompanied by such slogans as “later, spaced and few”, and “one’s not too few, two will do, and three are too many for you”, limiting each couple to two children. Zhou Enlai was the proponent behind this plan, which was unevenly enforced.

Designer unknown (佚名)
Date unknown
Marry late for the revolution
Wei geming shixing wanhun (为革命实行晚婚)
Publisher: Shanxisheng geming weiyuanhui jihua shengyu lingdaozu bangongshi (山西省革命委员会计划生育领导组办公室)
Size: 77×53 cm.
Call number: BG E15/563 (Landsberger collection)
– Chinese Posters: Population Policy: Marry late for Revolution.

1970s: Its a Revolutionary Requirement to Marry Late

Designer unknown (佚名)
early 1970s
It is a revolutionary requirement to marry late
Wanhun shi gemingde xuyao (晚婚是革命的需要)
Publisher: Office of the small leading group for birth control under the revolutionary committee of Wuhan (武汉市革命委员会计划生育领导小组办公室)
Size: 77×53 cm.
Call number: BG E15/272 (Landsberger collection)
– Chinese Posters: Population Policy: Revolutionary Req Marry Late.


1972: Practice Birth Control for the Revolution

To publicize this campaign, a nation-wide network was set up to provide family planning services, in the form of committees for planned birth work, which were organized at every administrative level. The cadres working here – often, but not always women – were made responsible for family planning education. The delivery of contraceptives was closely tied in with the provision of basic health care by local clinics in urban areas and by thebarefoot doctors in the countryside. Other means of birth control (IUD, abortion, sterilization) were provided free of charge.

Designer: Revolutionary Committee of Shanghai Municipal Health Office (上海市卫生局革委会供稿)
1972, May
Practice birth control for the revolution
Wei geming gaohao jihua shengyu (为革命搞好计划生育)
Publisher: Shanghai renmin chubanshe (上海人民出版社)
Size: 54×78 cm.
Call number: BG E15/31 (Landsberger collection)
– Chinese Posters: Population Policy: Birth Control Revolution.


1974: Deliver Birth Control to the Doorstep

The medical means of birth control were supplemented with the personal approach and peer group pressure in the small group (xiaozu 小组). In factories, enterprises, urban streets and rural villages, women were divided into small groups headed by a family planning worker, who organized the meetings and met with each member individually. Birth quotas were passed downwards through the administrative hierarchy until each small group received its allocated number of births. Thus, decisions regarding family size became subjected to intervention by the state in the form of controlled peer or group pressure.

Designer unknown (佚名)
Deliver medicine (contraceptives?) to the doorstep, do a good job in birth control work
Song yao shangmen, zuohao jihua shengyu gongzuo (送药上门,做好计划生育工作)
Publisher: Tianjinshi jihua shengyu weiyuanhui bangongshi (天津市计划生育委员会办公室)
Size: 76.5×53 cm.
Call number: BG E13/867 (Landsberger collection)
– Chinese Posters: Population Policy: Birth Control Doorstep.


1974: Practice Birth Control/Implement Family Planning for the Revolution

Contraceptives became widely available only in 1962, coinciding with the reaffirmation of the need for birth planning work. It was seen as key component of the exonomic recovery strategy following the grain and food crisis of the failed Great Leap. Even during the Cultural Revolution, and in particular after 1969, steady progress was made with setting up an administrative framework for planning policies. Yet, family planning remained voluntary until 1970. In that year, and again with Mao’s explicit blessing, a beginning was made with a sustained attempt to implement family planning as part of a policy to reduce the birth rate to 2%.

Designer: Xiang Yang (向阳)
1974, March
Carry out birth planning for the revolution
Wei geming shixing jihua shengyu (为革命实行计划生育)
Publisher: Shanghai renmin chubanshe (上海人民出版社)
Size: 53×76.5 cm.
Call number: BG E12/608 (IISH collection)
An intensive campaign for birth control is started in the 1970s. Contraceptives, such as the pill, are free.
– Chinese Posters: Population Policy: Birth Control for the Revolution.


1974: Family Planning has Many Advantages

Designer: Temporary Small Leading Group of the Family Planning Committee of Nanchang (南昌市计划生育委员会临时领导小组)
Ca. 1974
Family planning has many advantages
Jihua shengyu haochu duo (计划生育好处多)
Publisher: Temporary Small Leading Group of the Family Planning Committee of Nanchang (南昌市计划生育委员会临时领导小组)
Size: 77×53.5 cm.
Call number: BG E13/796 (Landsberger collection)
– Chinese Posters: Population Policy: Family Planning has Many Advantages.


1975: Practice Birth Control for the Revolution – Freely Supplied Contraceptives

Designer: Liaoning Provincial Pharmaceutical Company (辽宁省医药公司), Lu Xun Art Academy’s Zhang Baogui collective work (鲁迅美术学院张宝贵供稿)
Ca. 1975?
Practice birth control for the revolution – freely supplied anti-contraceptives
Wei geming shixing jihua shengyu – mianfei gongying biyun yaoju (为革命实现计划生育-免费供应避孕药具)
Publisher unknown
Size: 54×77 cm.
Call number: PC-197b-003 (Private collection)


1975: Birth Control is Good

In contrast with the first two decades following 1949, when family planning had been voluntary and the final decision to adopt birth control methods had been left to the couples themselves, some attempts now were made to implement the policy according to a quota system.

Designer: Song Houcheng (宋厚成)
1975, August
Birth control is good
Jihua shengyu hao (计划生育好)
Publisher: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe (陕西人民出版社)
Size: 53.5×77 cm.
Call number: BG E15/99 (Landsberger collection)
– Chinese Posters: Population Policy:


1978 Planned Parenthood Strong Children

What really leaps out from these posters is their urban bias, and this should give food for thought about the effectiveness of the ‘One Child’-campaign as a whole. In general, urban couples were more amenable to the goals of the campaign than their rural counterparts and abided more easily to the stipulations. City dwellers were confronted almost on a daily basis with the crippling effects the huge population had on the local infrastructure and the availability of housing. The control network of the population representative of the urban neighborhood committees also was much more comprehensive than that of her rural counterpart. These considerations all contributed to the fact that the policy on the whole was more successful in the cities. In the countryside, on the other hand, the population pressure was felt much less. Population representatives had fewer opportunities to keep track of births. As a result of the rural reforms, having many children was seen as a sure way to earn more income. In fact, many peasants considered the fines that had to be paid when more children were born as a small investment that the children would repay manifold in the future. Moreover, having as many children as possible still was seen as the only way to ensure that the parents would be looked after in their old age. And lastly, the lingering influence of ancestor worship made it imperative that at least one child would be male. In short, the lack of propaganda posters explicitly addressing the ‘One Child’-policy in rural terms has been simply astonishing.

Designer: Li Mubai (李慕百)
1978, April
Children born under planned parenthood are strong
Jihua shengyu wawa zhuang (计划生育娃娃壮)
Publisher: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe (上海人民美术出版社)
Size: 77×53 cm.
Call number: PC-1978-002 (Private collection)

– Chinese Posters: Population Policy: Planned Parenthood Strong Children.



Elisabeth Croll, Delia Davin, Penny Kane (eds), China’s One-Child Policy (London, etc.: MacMillan, 1985)

Vanessa L. Fong, Only Hope – Coming of Age under China’s One-Child Policy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004)

Tyrene White, China’s Longest Campaign – Birth Planning in the People’s Republic, 1949-2005 (Ithaca, etc.: Cornell University Press, 2006)