China seems to be loosening on its One-Child policy as part of economic reforms. Other Communist party plans are re-education through labor policy and increased mobility for the rural population. This was announced by Chinese state media on Friday, days after the conclusion of a meeting of top Communist party leaders in Beijing.
The reforms were arrived at after four days of closed door meetings where about 400 top party leaders resolved to design China’s development blueprint over the next decade. Under the new policy, couples in which one member is an only child will be allowed to have two children.
Currently, couples can only have two children if and only if they are both only children. Other groups who are allowed to have two children include ethnic minorities, and disabled people. According to the Independent, the one-child policy was introduced in 1979 to control the country’s huge population which now stands at 1.4 billion people. The policy was also put in place to bolster China’s economic growth and improve social welfare.
Chinese Officials say that the policy has so far been a success by claiming that the Chinese population would have been about 400 million more people than it is today. However, human rights activists have argued that the policy has led to high number of abortions. Consequently, more baby girls than boys are aborted due to the traditional preference for boys. As a result, there are about 6 males born for every 1 female newborn.
The unpopular law also led to a shortage of working age people who can care for the aging population. Professor Steve Tsang, from the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at Nottingham University, said: “This move is primarily to deal with the demographic deficit, which has huge economic implications, particularly over growth and stability.”
Although details of the re-education through labor programs are still unclear, a document from the communist party shows that the reforms will lead to improved social welfare programs, and ease migration restrictions for millions of rural residents who wish to move to the cities.
(image via YouTube)