Couples in China will now be able to have more than one child.
According to Xinhua news agency, the country has decided to end its decades-long policy that allowed couples only one child. Previously, couples that violated the policy faced everything from fines to female infanticide and forced abortions. There were a few exceptions made for couples in rural areas who were allowed two children if their first was a daughter, along with ethnic minorities.
Now, all couples will be allowed to have two children, as the Communist Party conveyed in a statement.
The policy was introduced nationwide in 1979 in an attempt to reduce the country’s rapid birthrate and slow population growth. According to estimates, the policy has prevented about 400 million births since its inception.
China’s ageing population – an issue for most nations – led to pressure for change. Currently, 30 per cent of the population is over the age of 50. In response to concerns about increasing social costs and a reduction of workers, the policy was relaxed in some provinces over time. The national rules were relaxed two years ago, when the policy was altered to allow couples in which at least one of the pair is an only child to have a second child.
While the policy change is definitely a step in the right direction, it’s not entirely liberal. The fact remains that, as long as a quota and monitoring system is in place, women in China still won’t enjoy the same reproductive rights as we do.