China to End One-Child Policy
China has decided to end its decades-long one-child policy. The one-child policy was introduced in 1979 and it implied that several Chinese citizens (almost a third of the population) could not have another child without being fined for it. In rural areas, families were allowed to have two children, only if the first born was a girl.
This policy has been responsible for forced abortions, female infanticide, and the under-reporting of female births. It also implicated as a cause of China’s gender imbalance.
However, couples will now be allowed to have two children.
An estimate shows that the one-child policy managed to prevent around 400 million births. However, the reason for reforming the policy is China’s ageing population. Punishments such as fines, loss of employment and forced abortions were given to couples who violated the one-child policy.
As a result of rising social costs and a decrease in the number of workers, the policy has been relaxed in some provinces.
The decision to let families have two children is to improve the balanced development of population and to handle the ageing population.
The Communist Party began relaxing national rules two years ago, allowing couples in which at least one of the pair is an only child, to have a second child but despite the relaxation of the rules, many couples may still want to have only one child, as one-child families have become the social norm. Moreover, a two-child policy may not increase the birth rate enough. In addition, for those women who want more than two children, nor will it end the state’s insistence on the right to control their fertility.
Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch claims that, “As long as the quotas and system of surveillance remains, women still do not enjoy reproductive rights.”
This decision to change China’s one-child policy was formulated by The Communist Party leaders at a four-day meeting in Beijing, known as the 5th Plenum.