China’s one-child policy has been a point of controversy for 30 years. The Communist Party has announced plans to relax the policy in an attempt to balance China’s population. The decision was reached during the Third Plenary Session earlier this week.
The policy change is part of a reform package which was created to improve and protect human rights. The reform will also abolish labor camps, revise death penalty laws, and overhaul the judiciary system.
As reported by CNN, current laws prevent many families from having more than one child. Those who violate the law are subjected to crippling fines and the policy has led to numerous human rights issues, including forced abortions and female infanticide. Critics have argued that the policy contributed to an imbalance in China’s population.
China’s one-child policy is credited with slowing population growth. However, it remains controversial. Under the current law, if both parents are only children, they are permitted to have two children of their own. The reform will allow couples to have two children if only one of the parents is an only child.
Labor camps are equally controversial. The “re-education through labor” system was implemented by Mao Zedong in 1950. The system was created to rehabilitate those accused of minor offenses.
As the offenses are not considered “criminal,” residents are detained in the camps without a trial. Harsh conditions within the labor camps are blamed for the death of millions.
The United Nations estimates nearly 190,000 people are currently detained in China’s 350 labor camps.
NBC News reports that the reform will abolish forced labor. Additionally, the package includes numerous changes to the judicial system, including a ban on torture to gain confessions.
The package will also include measures to assist economic recovery. The reform will allow the creation of several private banks throughout China and improve international marketing.
Although there are many reforms within the package, changes to China’s one-child policy and abolition of the labor camps will have the biggest impact on residents.
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