China Abandons One-Child Policy
By admin November 5, 2015

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After thirty-five years’ of implementation of Communist Party’s One-Child Policy, which was adopted in 1980, Beijing announced last Thursday that China would abandon this policy, and all Chinese couples would be allowed to have two children.

The decision was made because of China’s rapidly ageing population and to maintain a certain labor force to help support the economy. Based on China’s current birth rate, which is around 1.18 children per woman, the population is expected to peak between 2020 and 2030 and then decline. Regardless of the upcoming decline, China remains the world’s most populous nation with 1.3 billion people. To confront a shrinking number of working-age people, a rapidly aging society and slowing growth economy, the birth rate has to start rising.

Some people have credited the one-child policy because it has prevented 400 million births since its inception, and help the country improve its economic fortune at a faster pace as well as limit even greater strains on natural resources. However, many people have criticized the policy for its harsh and even inhumane implementation. There were cases that women or couples who violated the rules were subject to forced abortion and sterilizations, high fines, risk of job lose, etc. Some scholars also blame that the policy has led to gender selection and has caused a unbalance of gender in China.

There have been many exceptions to one-child policy, for instance, a couple in rural China could have a second child if the first one is a girl; certain ethnic minority groups are not subject to one-child policy; and in late 2013 a major reform allowed couples in which one of the parents was an only child to have a second baby. The 2013 reform did not lead to a huge surge in births, and only 1.45 million couples out of 11 million eligible ones had applied to have a second child. Thus there is still doubt if the “two children policy’ could really solve China’s ageing population, especially without any government/policy support to working mothers or develop a better child care system. Many families, especially women, are still observing and evaluating whether they should plan for a second child, considering the cost of raising two children, potential loss of income as a stay at-home parent, and the pressure for one couple to take care of two kids and four elders.

Details on the implementation of new policy has not been announced yet, and the law will not change until March 2016. There is still the question if the two children policy could successfully ease the ageing population and other social issues caused by one-child policy.


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