Chinese Families Encouraged To Have Two Kids; End of One-Child Policy

In an attempt to ration food and water for starving citizens in the 1980s, the Communist Party decided to put a cap on China’s population growth and issued a “one-child policy.” The policy, which aimed to keep the population below 1 billion by the end of the 20th century, resulted in “336 million abortions and 196 million sterilizations since 1971 and inserted 403 million intrauterine devices.”

Several decades later, although China has become a world superpower, it must now deal with a dwindling population that is made up mostly of an aged workforce. According to reports, “Chinese experts expect the country’s working population — estimated by the government to be roughly 915 million at the end of 2014 — to drop by around 40 million by 2030.”

Should the one-child policy, though relaxed, continue to be implemented, 30 percent of China’s population will be age 60 or older by 2050.

In what can only be referred to as a historical event, the decision to encourage Chinese couples to have more children was a result of the Communist leadership’s attempt at building up China to be a “moderately prosperous society.”

The initiative however, may have little or no effect on China’s crisis. According to population experts, while some couples have one child due to the policy, others have an only child due to financial constraints. In this case, they voluntarily and purposefully have only one child because they find it difficult to provide even the most basic of necessities.

This is why, Peng Xizhe, a population professor at Fudan University goes on to explain that the “future population growth may partly depend on whether the government introduces policies to actively encourage childbirth such as longer maternity and paternity leave.”

According to reports, Li Bin, the head of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, said that in order for the new policy to take effect, “the authorities should improve supply of public services including reproductive health care for women and children and the availability of kindergartens and nurseries.”

Experts go on to say that while the change in policy is a step forward for human rights, it may take decades for China’s economy to see actual results. For now, the powerhouse will have to continue to struggle with the consequences of over 50 years of the one-child policy.

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About the author

Raisa Tan is the Managing Editor of the Morning Ledger and is also a Radio DJ for Mellow 94.7. Connect with her on Facebook.com/raisa947 and on Twitter and Instagram @raisa_tan