China has abolished the controversial one-child per family policy.
China’s official news agency confirmed that the ruling government has decided to end the one-child per family policy that has always been strictly enforced. According to the revised rules, couples will now be allowed two children, read the headlines.
“China is abandoning its decades-long one-child policy.”
Xinhua, the official news agency of China, cited a communiqué issued by the ruling Communist Party. The announcement comes after four days of high-level deliberations, which involved the leaders of the ruling party. The meeting was called to chart the course of the world’s second-largest economy over the next five years, reported MSN.
The Communist party had been trying to ease the once-severe restrictions that were introduced in 1980. The Government had then believed that restricting couples to bear a single child would greatly aid in conserving the natural resources, like food and water. With an aim to restrict the booming population, China has always claimed that the one-child per couple policy has been a key contributor to China’s economic boom.
The Central Committee came to the conclusion of allowing all couples to bear two children instead of just one after a four-day meeting that took place in a heavily guarded hotel in western Beijing. The committee had met to etch China’s next five-year development plan, which starts next year. Officially referred to as the fifth plenum, the conclave involved 205 members of the Central Committee, plus around 170 alternates.
In 2013, the party had approved relaxation of to the one-child policy for couples in which one of the spouses was an only child. Couples, where one of the spouses was the only child, were allowed to have two children. Strangely, many couples who became eligible to have more than a single child chose not to bear any more children. Quite a few of these couples confessed that the escalating expenses and pressures of raising children in a highly competitive society were among the many deterrents that dissuaded them from having more than a single child, reported New York Times.
Announcing the decision, a Chinese radio news station said the following.
“Officials have decided to improve the demographic development strategy, and to comprehensively implement a policy that couples can have two children, actively taking steps to counter the aging of the population.”
The news agency essentially revealed the fallout of strictly enforcing the one-child per couple policy for 35 years. Though the policy was immensely successful in curtailing the population of the world’s largest economy, it led to many problems. A majority of China’s population is now aging rapidly, and there are fewer members in the active age group of 18-40-years-old. The sex ratio is highly skewed. But what’s majorly concerning is the fact that China, once considered to be the most active workforce in the entire world, won’t have able-bodied workers in the years to come.
Post market reforms, which opened China’s manufacturing sectors to world markets, the country has enjoyed economic boom for over 4 decades. However, the policies that were once intended to rein in the population growth have proven to be detrimental as the country prepares to tackle an aging population that may not have enough young professionals.
The decision to allow couples to bear two children comes with no riders, confirmed the committee. The country’s legislative assembly is expected to officially abolish the one-child per couple policy and approve the new five-year plan next year. The only question is whether the struggling couples in China will now think of a second child.
[Photo by Greg Baker / Getty Images]