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China allows 2 children per family!

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China has finally got rid of the controversial one-child only policy, and has announced a new law that allows a couple to have two children. The Communist Party officials said that China will “fully implement a policy of allowing each couple to have two children as an active response to an ageing population.”

There has been a lot of speculation about this for long, but finally a decision has been taken, which has been welcomed by the Chinese people all over the world.

Steve Tsang, who teaches contemporary Chinese studies at the University of Nottingham, said, “It is long overdue. It’s definitely the right direction but I think its impact is going to be rather less than would [initially] appear. The gender imbalance is going to be a very major problem – we are talking about between 20 million and 30 million young men who are not going to be able to find a wife. That creates social problems and that creates a huge number of frustrated people”.

The one-child policy has solved China’s over-population problem, and has prevented more than 400 million births, but it has also led to forced sterilizations, abortions, infanticide, and a potentially disastrous gender imbalance which means millions of men will never find a woman to get married to.

China also has a problem that life expectancy in the country has risen dramatically because of better standard of living and modern medical facilities. According to the UN, by 2050 China will have 440 million people over the age of 60.  In fact the working-age population or those who are between 18 and 59 – fell by over 4 million last year, a trend that has caused a lot of concern to experts.

Dai Qing, a Chinese writer who has publicly called for the one-child policy to be scrapped, said Thursday’s announcement was a positive step. “It shows that the authorities have understood the changes in the total population and the demographic structure and started to address them. Even if people are allowed to have two children, what if they want to have three children or more? What if unmarried women want to have their own children? At the end of the day, it’s about women’s reproductive rights and freedoms.”

Stuart Gietel-Basten, a University of Oxford demographer who has also argued for the end of the policy, said, “I’m shaking to be honest. I’m a little bit shaken up. It’s one of those things that you have been working on and saying for years and recommending they should do something and it finally happened. It’s just a bit of a shock. The insider chat … was that it was likely to be some time next year so I was quite surprised.”

Mr. Gietel-Basten explains that rule was not going to bring any major demographic impact. “In the short term, probably there will be a little baby boom particularly in some of the poorer provinces where the rules have been very strict, like in Sichuan or in parts of the south. But in the long term I don’t think it’s going to make an enormous amount of difference.”

“In some ways, from a political, pragmatic perspective, loosening the policy is good for the party but also it is a good thing for individual couples who want to have that second child. It is a kind of win-win for everybody. Millions of ordinary Chinese couples will be allowed to have a second child if they want to – this is clearly a very positive thing. As a demographer it is OK. It’s no big deal … but on a very human level the capacity for parents to have a second child if they want to … is obviously very important,” Mr. Gietel-Basten concluded.

Author: Raghav Hegde – India

source foto: theguardian


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