fter finally doing away its infamous “one-child policy” for a “two-child” one, China may soon switch over to a “have as many kids as you possibly can“ plan in order to avert impending demographic catastrophe.
According to Bloomberg, China’s State Council has commissioned research into the repercussions of ending the country’s controversial family planning policies and replacing them with a new nationwide “independent fertility” policy that will allow Chinese citizens to decide for themselves how many children they want to have for the first time in four decades.
The insider source told Bloomberg’s Dandan Li that the change could be enacted as early as by the end of this year or the start of the next year.
After formally introducing its “one-child policy” back in 1979, China will reportedly make this historic move in order to slow down China’s rapidly aging population and finally free itself of a frequent source of international criticism.
Over the years, China’s harsh family planning policies have earned countless rebukes from foreign governments and human rights groups as a large number of women were forced by local officials into abortions and sterilizations. Those who managed to evade government detection either had to pay a large fine upon the birth of their child or have that child grow up in the shadows, without a government-issued hukou.
With over 30 million more men than women and a population that was only continuing to grow older, China attempted to shift course at the beginning of 2016 by doing away with its “one-child policy,” hoping that a “two-child” one would encourage more couples to have more kids.
However, following an initial “baby bump” that saw births in China rise to their highest level since 2000, the policy’s effects have proved lackluster. In 2017, China’s birth rate actually dropped from the year before as study after study has shown that most Chinese families don’t want to have a second kid, reasoning that raising one child is expensive enough in modern China.
But Chinese officials aren’t about to give up that easily. Over the past few years, the government has initiated a number of campaigns trying to convince urban middle-class parents that having a second kid is the right thing to do. In 2016, the Health and Family Planning Commission of Yichang, one of the largest cities in Hubei province, evenencouraged local Party leadersto lead by example, serve the people, and have another kid.
Who knows, soon we may live in a bizarro world where having only one child is frowned upon, streetside propaganda encourages large families, and abortions are outlawed.