Xinhua has just announced that China will officially end its decades-long one child policy, allowing couples to have two children.
The policy was first put into place in 1980 in order to curb the nation’s rapidly-growing population and has been a controversial pillar of China’s domestic policy ever since.The one-child policy is estimated to have prevented about 400 million births since it began.
However, in recent years, Beijing has taken steps to ease back on the restriction, first allowing the raising of two children if both parents were only children themselves. In 2013, the law was relaxed again to permit couples to have 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. As a result of the policy relaxation, China saw 16.8 million new births last year—470,000 more than in 2013.
Activists have long campaigned against the policy as violating human rights. But, recently more and more critics have begun to worry about China’s resulting low fertility rate and rapidly-aging population. Data was given to leaders last week outlining the benefits of a two-child policy over sitting idly on the current demographic time-bomb.
In May of this year, an eminent professor at the population development studies center at Renmin University said that he believed a policy that allows two children nationally will take effect during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).
Give this man a cookie!
Maybe China won’t be needing to institute state-sanctioned polyandry after all.