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China may bring in ‘two-child policy’

China may bring in ‘two-child policy’ thumbnail

Thirty-five years after enacting draconian birth control rules blamed for millions of forced abortions and the creation of a demographic “timebomb”, China could be on the verge of introducing a two-child policy. The new regulation, under which all Chinese couples would be allowed to have two children, could be implemented “as soon as the end of the year if everything goes well”, a government source was quoted as saying by the China Business News.

The highly controversial and often brutally enforced one-child policy was introduced by China’s Communist leaders in 1980 amid fears of a catastrophic population explosion. The government credits it with preventing 400 million births, but the human cost has been immense, with forced sterilisations and abortions, infanticide, and a dramatic gender imbalance that means millions of men will never find female partners.

In 2012 – in one of the most shocking recent cases of human rights abuses related to the policy – a 23-year-old woman from Shaanxi province in north-west China was abducted by family planning officials and forced to have an abortion seven months into the pregnancy.

Liang Zhongtang, a demographer from the Shanghai Academy of Social Science, said the policy should have been abolished long ago. “The core issue is not about one child or two children. It’s about reproductive freedom. It’s about basic human rights. In the past, the government failed to grasp the essence of the issue,” he said.

Beijing quickly played down claims that the two-child policy would be in place by the end of the year. “No timetable has been set to allow all couples in the country to have a second child,” the national health and family planning commission insisted, according to the state-run China Daily.

Lu Jiehua, a professor of demographics at Peking University, told the Global Times the change was more likely to come next year. “It’s not simply about implementing a second-child policy. All relevant policies, regulations, formalities and facilities need to be in place to support [the policy] and it takes time.”

Liang said the apparent decision to bring in a two-child policy had been driven by growing public opposition to family planning laws. The internet – to which nearly 650 million Chinese people are now connected – had made public hostility more visible and more powerful. He added: “The government – under increasing public pressure – has to respond to people’s demands.”

Moves to loosen strict birth control rules are also a response to a demographic “timebomb” created by the one-child policy. Experts warn that China’s 1.3 billion-strong population is ageing rapidly, while the labour pool is shrinking. The country will have nearly 440 million over-60s by 2050, according to UN estimates, placing a massive strain on government resources.

Meanwhile, the working-age population – those aged between 15 and 59 – fell by 3.71 million last year, a trend that is expected to continue. If that trend is not reversed, “the future for China’s economy will look grim”, said Yi Fuxian, a demographer and outspoken critic of the one-child policy.

In recent years, there has been a gradual relaxation of China’s family planning laws, which already permitted ethnic minority families and rural couples whose firstborn was a girl to have more than one child. Since 2013, couples in many parts of the country have been allowed to have two children if one parent was an only child.

State media have celebrated the results of that policy shift, pointing to an additional 470,000 births in 2014 compared with the year before. But the mini-baby boom authorities had hoped for has failed to materialise. Experts say the fertility rate is not rising fast enough, with financial constraints putting many urban couples off having a second child.

“The change is imperative,” said Yi, whose book, A Big Country with an Empty Nest, attacks his country’s family planning policies. “The government’s selective two-child policy has proved a failure. Scrapping [the] one-child policy is the only sensible solution to China’s population crisis.”

Speaking earlier this month, Yang Wenzhuang, a senior family planning official, admitted China needed to act fast to “address a major demographic challenge facing the nation”.

Liang said Beijing’s apparent decision to scrap the one-child policy was a positive and long overdue step. But even a full shift to a nationwide two-child policy would do little to reverse the demographic trends already set in place. “At the moment, many people are not willing to have more children, even if they are encouraged to do so. So in reality the government introducing the two-child policy still won’t have much of an impact,” he said.

Last year, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences warned that China was close to falling into the so-called “low fertility trap”, a vicious cycle from which countries find it hard to escape.

For an estimated 2 million “orphaned” parents – who lost the only child the Communist party allowed them to have – news of the impending policy change brought little comfort. Huo Daozhong, a 58-year-old from Henan province whose only son killed himself in 2013, said: “It’s too late. The policy has nothing to do with us now.”

Each year, around 76,000 families join the ranks of China’s so-called “shidu” families when their only children die. “He was only 30 years old when he died. It felt like all our hopes had gone,” Huo said of his son. “Nothing matters now. We are alive but feel dead inside.”


17 Comments on "China may bring in ‘two-child policy’"

  1. ERRATA on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 7:49 am 

    And it was REALLY conducted one-child policy ??
    This should cause a decline in population (replacement of two people (parents) one person (descendant)). But the number of people in China somehow does not fall, only to rise.
    More and more dubious information is here.

    It would be worth it proved true demographer.

  2. dashster on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 7:57 am 

    Yeah, the article says it was “brutally encorced”, and yet, 35 years later their population continues to climb. They can only talk about birth avoidance, not population leveling or decline.

  3. ERRATA on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 8:28 am 

    I do not deny the occurrence of moral problems or grievances.

    But I look at the problem scientifically, cold.
    If you enter “policy of two children,” the 10-, 20- years ago, we find that population growth remained the same (or even declined) it will mean that China has destroyed the economic environment (lack of float), the ecological environment and are overcrowded (overpopulation)

    Let us not forget that China pose the greatest threat to growth in CO2 emissions.
    It will be even greater increase in emissions ?

  4. ERRATA on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 8:39 am 


    If you enter “policy of two children” (now) after a further (next) 10, 20 years ago, we find that population growth remained the same (or even declined) it will mean that China has destroyed the economic environment (lack of work), the ecological environment and are overcrowded (overpopulation) now!

  5. Kenz300 on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 9:22 am 

    Poverty breeds more poverty………. having a child you can not afford to provide for is cruel…..

    Birth Control Permanent Methods: Learn About Effectiveness

  6. joe on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 9:30 am 

    So all other things being equal. If they get rid of 1 child policy, China could have a population of around 3bln by the end of the century? India will be around 2bln and Europe near 1bln Africa over 1bln US probobly 500-600 bln ROW 2bln. Can certainly see demand for allot oil just can’t see where they will live when the cities drown, maybe millions of miles of dykes and canal’s?
    Also when robots and AI start running the offices and developing websites and services and robots build all the junk we need, what will people work at? Will the food supply be good enough?
    It’s an obvious Malthusian question, maybe we will have fission maybe something else, just can’t see 9bln people living on oil forever.
    All governments globally should be limiting their birth levels and coming up with ways to manage aging populations. Eternal growth is a fools dream. The ratio of worker to old is going to be one to one, that means the young enslaved to the old, it’s happening now, young people paying the debts incurred by the old, they can’t afford mortgages and futures of their own, and soon tech will begin to replace the middle class.
    How many jobs will this one billboard delete?

  7. Davy on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 11:30 am 

    At this point it is really pointless to worry about population measures. They are all ineffective except around the edges. Humans will to reproduce is just too strong and the momentum too great. We are nearing a point of forced rebalance of consumption and population. It is uncertain when, where, and how but it is surely in the near future. Food, fuel, and systematic issues of globalism are reaching limits and marginal returns to complexity.

    This could start slow or fast but in effect we will need to lower population through excess deaths over births to a level of 500MIL – 1BIL in a generation. Consumption will likewise fall accordingly. This is simply an ecosystem event. Our ecosystem is going to rebalance and there is nothing we can do either way to change that. We are part of a self-organizing, adaptive, and irreversible global system that is beyond human management except global suicide.

    So let China do as she pleases. Let the numb nut economist talk about problems with the demographics. Let the academics talk about how we are going to have another 2BIL people eventually. All this is irrelevant. What we can and should be doing is having mitigation and adaptation policies for excess deaths over births. This is going to be very disruptive and ugly. We should be talking about this but the cornucopians are in charge. The only language they know is growth and progress related. They cannot or will not discuss forced descent issues and or population decline. Until that narrative is dealt with there will be no plan B’s. We are going to blindly walk into a world of pain, suffering, and death and few will know why.

  8. Boat on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 12:14 pm 

    Since the financial system is going to fall from a few days ago to full crash within 6 months why worry about anything. If no money is transferred do you think people will work for free or get gas and food for free? Dams, nuclear plants, farms, everything will start shutting down very soon. No reason to farm or try to stay alive. 438 nuclear plants around the world will be in melt down. I will miss the web site and will have to end my life thinking you were right after all.
    Since were all going to die anyway would you take over all my payments for these last few months. I want to live without working. Just in case your wrong I need to keep my credit up. Is it ok to go down with shrimp, lobster, steak, and fried foods? Thanks for paying.

  9. beamofthewave on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 12:16 pm 

    Belgium is dealing with this by allowing people to kill themselves if they are unhappy, terminally ill etc.

  10. Davy on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 12:29 pm 

    Your so cute Boat

  11. rockman on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 4:07 pm 

    The Rockman was one of the beneficiaries of the policy: adopted my infant daughter there 15 years ago. But the policy was primarially focused on the cities. It wasn’t inforced in the country side due to the demand for manual labor. The policy was a huge social issue with regards to gender. Culturally in China the sons were responsible for taking care of parents as they aged. So a wife would be focused on her husband”s parents and not hers. Which is why the abandoned babies, like my daughter, were almost 100% female.

    Not enough women: when I was in China learned there was a Chinese slang term for men with no marriage prospects: “barren branches”.

  12. BC on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 10:27 pm

    Too late for China to do anything about demographic drag effects. They are falling off the demographic cliff now into the early to mid-2020s as Japan did in the mid- to late 1990s and the US and EZ did after 2000.

    @beam, I expect that other western countries will EVENTUALLY adopt something similar, say, like the scene from “Soylent Green” when Sol “goes home”:

    I think this is a rather enlightened approach, reflective of encouraging individual freedom of choice. I personally would like to have such a choice for my exit, including doing it at my discretion for whatever damn reason suits me and whenever I like.

    Especially in a world constrained by Peak Oil, overshoot, resource depletion per capita, climate change, conflict, war, genocide, fiscal “austerity”, etc., why be a burden to oneself, loved ones, and society?

    What’s so great about becoming ancient in a world obsessed with youth, physical beauty, rap and hip-hop, Kardashian’s fat a$$, and living with iThingies attached to our faces?

    Who wants to grow old and dependent in a world like, or worse than, the conditions depicted in “Soylent Green”, “The Road”, or “Mad Max”? I don’t.

    Under the circumstances, I think it’s perfectly rational to desire to have the choice to “go home”.

  13. Makati1 on Fri, 24th Jul 2015 10:38 pm 

    Boat, what do you need credit for? I have managed for 15 years with a debit card and cash. No debts, anywhere. No ‘investments’ that can disappear overnight. I have less than $100 total in my two bank accounts.

    I do have real friends and family and investments in trade goods, seeds, food stocks, etc. that will not lose value no matter what happens.

    At best, we only have another generation before we go through the extinction event. So why worry about things you can do nothing about? I don’t. I sleep well at night.

  14. Makati1 on Sat, 25th Jul 2015 3:37 am 

    BC, I agree, but then, I am 70 and have enjoyed a good life. Not that I would not like to see 100, if it can be in a healthy, happy body. But then, I don’t expect miracles. LOL

  15. Davy on Sat, 25th Jul 2015 6:16 am 

    Mak, you don’t need credit because you are a nobody living in a 10th floor slum hole apartment in Manila surviving on a social security check. You don’t need credit because you don’t do anything but sit behind your laptop and spew anti-American pro Asian agenda that is now blowing up in your idiot face.

    You are 70 without health insurance and little money. You talk about a farm you are never on and by the time you move there you are still getting too old to do anything. I doubt you have 5 years left. Get real Mak your spent, done, finished. You deserted your kids in America so no one will be there to plant you. What a pathetic louse

  16. Kenz300 on Sat, 25th Jul 2015 8:50 am 

    The least educated people have the most children…
    The poorest people have the most children………


    The most educated people have the least children……..
    The wealthiest people have the fewest children……………

    Want to be poor….. have more children than you can provide for. Do not have more children than you can adequately provide for.

  17. Boat on Sat, 25th Jul 2015 10:22 am 

    Doomers & Corns
    I have noticed a sense of heightened tension and hostility the last few days. From time to time I let a little emotion leak, some reaction to something I judge as over the top. I do not claim to be Gandhi.
    One thing I have learned from observation over the decades is hostility, threats and name calling will not advance any debate.It is ok to agree to disagree.
    Peak oil already has happened or will happen, who cares. It’s the extent of access and the affordability of the future we discuss. The oil that is left will continue to be drilled, the overall cost will continue to go up over the years.
    Whether it’s a financial meltdown, demand destruction, climate change or huge disruptions from war and what will happen first are debatable. Threatening to kill or enjoying misery of others to me is just a sign of weakness.

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