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Human Rights & Social Issues

China to ease one-child policy


A mother pushes her daughter on a swing in Beijing

A mother pushes her daughter on a swing in Beijing

China will ease family planning restrictions nationwide, the government said on Friday, allowing millions of families to have two children in the country’s most significant liberalisation of its strict one-child policy in about three decades.

Couples in which one parent is an only child will now be able to have a second child, one of the highlights of a sweeping raft of reforms announced three days after the ruling Communist Party ended a meeting that mapped out policy for the next decade.

The plan to ease the policy was envisioned by the government about five years ago as officials worried that the strict controls were undermining economic growth and contributing to a rapidly ageing population the country had no hope of supporting financially.

A growing number of scholars had long urged the government to reform the policy, introduced in the late 1970s to prevent population growth spiralling out of control, but now regarded by many experts as outdated and harmful to the economy.

While the easing of the controls will not have a substantial demographic impact in the world’s most populous nation, it could pave the way for the abolition of the policy.

“The demographic significance is minimal but the political significance is substantial,” said Wang Feng, a sociology professor at Fudan University specialising in China’s demographics, before the announcement.

“This is one of the most urgent policy changes that we’ve been awaiting for years. What this will mean is a very speedy abolishment of the one-child policy.”

In the 1980s, the government allowed rural families with a girl to have two children, Wang said. “Ever since the ’80s, there’s been nothing as clear as this,” he said.

Wang Guangzhou, a demographer from top government think-tank, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, estimated the new policy would affect 30 million women of child-bearing age In a country which has nearly 1.4 billion people.

Although it is known internationally as the one-child policy, China’s rules governing family planning are more complicated. Under current rules, urban couples are permitted a second child if both parents do not have siblings and rural couples are allowed to have two children if their first-born is a girl.

There are numerous other exceptions as well, including looser rules for ethnic minorities and allowing parents who are themselves only children to have two children at most.

Any couple violating the policy has to pay a large fine.

The one-child policy covers 63 per cent of the country’s population and Beijing says it has averted 400 million births since 1980.

Many analysts say the one-child policy has shrunk China’s labour pool, hurting economic growth. For the first time in decades the working age population fell in 2012, and China could be the first country in the world to get old before it gets rich.

“It’s not a huge reform, there have been small adjustments all along,” said Liang Zhongtang, a demographer from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

“I am just worried that they will make no further adjustments for a very long time after they’ve made this one.”

Tian Xueyuan, a retired family planning scholar who helped draft the original one-child policy, told Reuters the rules were only meant to last about 25 years.

“They could have implemented this policy several years ago,” he said.

Numerous studies have shown the detrimental effects of the one-child policy. China’s labour force, at about 930 million, will start declining in 2025 at a rate of about 10 million a year, projections show. Meanwhile, its elderly population will hit 360 million by 2030, from about 200 million today.

A skewed gender ratio is another consequence.

Like most Asian nations, China has a traditional bias for sons. Many families abort female foetuses or abandon baby girls to ensure their only child is a son. About 118 boys are born for every 100 girls, against a global average of 103-107 boys per 100 girls.

Family planning officials have been known to compel women to have abortions to meet birth-rate targets.

Still, the adjustment is likely to be popular.

Zhang Yuanyuan, who has a one-year-old son, said she had already decided to have one more child before the new policy and was willing to pay the fine.

“We are very, very happy about this new policy,” Zhang told Reuters.

Source: Reuters – “China to ease decades-old one-child policy nationwide”
 
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About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

Discussion

2 thoughts on “China to ease one-child policy

  1. Reblogged this on Discovering Chinese Life and commented:
    Exciting to hear, but let’s see how it rolls out.

    Like

    Posted by Daniel Scott | November 16, 2013, 11:12 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: China’s one-child policy breeds ‘little emperors with skewed values’, writer Xinran Xue says | China Daily Mail - June 9, 2015

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