Scholars and officials anticipate further overhaul of the “one child policy” to allow all couples to have two children, reports China Daily.
China’s restrictions on how many children a couple may give birth to trace their roots to the 1970s, with the implementation of the “one child policy”. The laws were first eased to allow the raising of two children if both parents were only children themselves. In 2013, the law was relaxed again to permit two children if either of the parents was an only child. In 2014, one million couples applied for a second child, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
China’s low fertility rate and a rapidly ageing population have been the impetus for the gradual movement in favour of a more relaxed family planning policy. An eminent professor at the population development studies center at Renmin University believes a policy that allows two children universally will take effect during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).
This view has been affirmed by a spokesperson for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, the top government department in charge of population policies in China. Yet, concerns about a large population, which were at the forefront of the original policy, are still just as relevant today. Legislators remain wary of the strain unsustainable population growth places on resources, the environment and social development.
In 2010, a photographer explored the effect of the “one child policy” on Chinese children, focusing on the alter-egoes who acted as surrogates for the siblings they were denied.
By Liam Bourke