China to Ease One-Child Policy and Abolish Labor Camps

The world's most populous nation is loosening its decades-long policy limiting the size of families

  • Share
  • Read Later

Like TIME on Facebook for more breaking news and current events from around the globe!

AFP / Getty Images

A woman with one of her grandchildren in their home in Chengde, Hebei province, a town where inhabitants are not bound by the 'one-child' birth-control policy enforced in other parts of China, March 21, 2013

China will loosen its policy limiting most families to one child, a system to slow population growth that has been in place for three decades.

The country’s official Xinhua News Agency said Friday that the Communist Party released a policy document announcing the changes following a key meeting in Beijing this week. Under current rules, urban couples are limited to one child, and rural couples are allowed to have two children if the first born is a girl. The changes allow couples to have two children if one of the parents is an only child.

The one-child policy was introduced in 1979 in an attempt to curb an exploding population in China. Authorities have claimed that the policy has prevented 400 million births, but some independent scholars put that figure at closer to 100 million. Some studies have shown that the policy has led to a gender imbalance in China, where an estimated 30 million more men than women will reach adulthood by 2020.

The party’s policy document also said the country will end its practice of “re-education through labor,” which was designed to punish early critics of the communist party. Local officials have used labor camps to deal with people challenging their authority. According to Xinhua News Agency, that system will be abolished.

[AP]

2 comments
driftor
driftor

"Some studies have shown that the policy has led to a gender imbalance in China, where an estimated 30 million more men than women will reach adulthood by 2020." 

Please explain why?

Druid84
Druid84

@driftor Chinese society still places a higher value on having a boy instead of a girl. This is due to traditional values and religious beliefs. The issue with this and the one-child policy is that when (unfortunately a lot of) people had girls they would abandon them, adopt them out to other countries or even killed them without informing the government in order to be able to try again for a boy.
Having an excess of males reach adulthood is never good for an economy that wants to prosper.