China Is Abandoning Its One-Child Policy

The Communist Party in China has announced that the state will be abandoning its one-child policy. The policy was originally enacted in 1979 to combat an overwhelming population, and it worked – in the last 35 years, it’s estimated that 400 million births have been prevented.

However, campaigners against the law say that the policy has actually been too effective. China’s population has been ageing, leading to a declining workforce and increasing costs for social benefits.

Two years ago, China started allowing couples in which at least one partner was an only child to have two children, and ethnic minorities have been allowed to have more than one child, as well as rural families in which the first child was a girl. Now, though, the policy has widened to two children for all couples.

This is particularly good news for Chinese girls and women. The one-child policy has been deemed a cause for China’s gender imbalance – 118 boys are born for every 100 girls. Although fetal sex determination was banned in China, some women took to sending blood samples overseas and obtaining abortions when the fetuses were determined to be female. Female births were underreported, and some girls were abandoned at birth. Too, though, some women who have become pregnant more than once have undergone forced abortions required by the state. The new policy could at least ease some of these problems.

Now, the Communist Party is expected to set population growth targets alongside its continuing efforts to rebalance gender in the country.

[BBC]
[Reuters]
[Slate]

[Image via Shutterstock]

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