A New Year For China: Two-Child Policy Signed Into Law

It’s official. Decades after the one-child policy was declared in China, the Chinese government has already signed the two-child policy bill into law, granting Chinese couples the right to bear two children.

Chinese news agency Xinhua News Agency reported today that Chinese legislators passed a historic law Sunday, December 27.

“The state advocates that one couple shall be allowed to have two children,” the newly revised Law on Population and Family Planning reads, which was passed only today at the bi-monthly session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. The state session ran from Monday to Sunday.

Back in October, China’s top leadership has already announced that they will be passing the new two-child policy, but laws in the country state that it had to be approved by the National People’s Congress first before it becomes law. Today, the draft created by the State Council of China has now been realized.The

The Inquisitr previously reported that China’s Central Committee first came into the conclusion that China needed to revise its one-child policy into a more amicable two-child policy after a four-day meeting about China’s five-year development plan that took place in a heavily guarded hotel in western Beijing.

But in fact, in 2013, New York Times reports that China has already relaxed its laws regarding its one-child policy, due to the country’s aging population. According to that amendment back then, parents who were an only child were already allowed to have two children. But even though that decree has been passed as early as 2013, not a lot of couples reacted positively and many stuck to having one child. In fact, out of how many millions of couples eligible to have a second child after the relaxed one-child policy came into effect, only 12 percent of the eligible couples applied to have two children. Since the policy makers were hoping that the new decree would increase the labor supply in China, the results were depressing.

China's one-child policy was passed in the late 1970s (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)
China's one-child policy was passed in the late 1970s (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

Mu Guangzong, a professor of demography at Peking University, told the New York Times in a phone interview back in October that he feared passing the two-child policy would not aggressively push parents to having that second child:

“I don’t think a lot of parents would act on it, because the economic pressure of raising children is very high in China. The birthrate in China is low and its population is aging quickly, so from the policy point of view, it’s a good thing, as it will help combat a shortage of labor force in the future. But many parents simply don’t have the economic conditions to raise more children.”

The depressing results of the relaxed one-child policy in China could have been the reason why the Communist Party decided to pass the two-child policy into law quickly, just two months after it has been agreed upon in October.

But while the two-child policy has already circulated as early as October, a lot of critics like Guangzong were hesitant about the results that it will bring about. The one-child policy back in the ’70s forced unwanted abortions and endless heartaches for parents, since a son was preferred as dictated by the Chinese culture and the passing on of the family name. Rappler reports that critics believe that the passing of the two-child policy might prove as unsuccessful as the time the relaxed one-child policy was decreed. Moreover, that it wouldn’t stop the abortions and infanticide.

Amnesty International’s William Nee said on Twitter:

‘Two Child Policy’ won’t end forced sterilizations, forced abortions, gov control over birth permits.”

Joan Kaufman, Director of the Columbia Global Centers East Asia, adds:

“There’s a lot of opportunity cost to having children. The norm has changed to one or none. I don’t think you’re going to see a massive unleashing of this pent-up desire for children.”

In 15 years, CNN reports, China’s government predicts that more than 400 million of its population will be age 60 and higher. More than three decades of one-child policy will be hard to undo.

China's aging population may be hard to undo (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)
China's aging population may be hard to undo (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

The two-child policy will come into effect come January 1, but many, however, still hope that the passing of the two-child policy will signal, not only a new year, but a new beginning for China.

[Featured photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images]