The Chinese Communist Party is ending its longstanding one-child policy, the BBC is reporting. Enacted in 1979 in order to help curb China’s exploding population, the rule has been widely condemned by the international community and human rights organizations. Under the policy, couples who had more than one child faced various punishments from “fines and the loss of employment to forced abortions.”
While the policy did prevent an estimated 400 million childbirths over the past 36 years, it also had many unintended consequences. The country now has a disproportionately high number of males due to a sharp increase in female infanticide after the policy was enacted. China is also burdened with an aging population, since 30% of the country is now 50 or older.
The policy shift comes after years of pressure from demographers who have long warned that China may soon face a labor shortage. However, the one-child policy will simply be replaced by a two-child rule, which experts fear may not be enough to reverse the trend. And the new policy is not likely to placate critics who feel the government has no right to interfere with an individual’s reproductive rights.
1-child 2 two-child policy is +step, but doesn’t change the reality that #China’s family planning policy remains coercive and abusive— Maya Wang 王松莲 (@wang_maya) October 29, 2015