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China to End One Child Policy
Nov 04, 2015

China has decided to end its decades-long one-child policy. Couples will now be allowed to have two children. The decision to allow families to have two children was designed to improve the balanced development of population' and to deal with an aging population

  • Introduced in 1979, the policy meant that many Chinese citizens could not have a second child without incurring a fine.

  • The controversial policy was introduced nationally to slow the population growth rate. 

  • In rural areas, families were allowed to have two children if the first was a girl.

  • Other exceptions included ethnic minorities and—since 2013—couples where at least one was a single child

  • It is estimated to have prevented about 400 million births. However concerns at China's ageing population led to pressure for change.

  • Couples who violated the one-child policy faced a variety of punishments, from fines and the loss of employment to forced abortions.

  • Over time, the policy has been relaxed in some provinces, as demographers and sociologists raised concerns about rising social costs and falling worker numbers.

  • Currently about 30% of China's population is over the age of 50. The total population of the country is around 1.36 billion.

  • The announcement in China came on the final day of a summit of the Communist Party's policy-making Central Committee, known as the fifth plenum.

As China's population approached one billion in the late 1970s, the government became concerned about what effect this would have on its ambitious plans for economic growth. Although other family planning programs had already been implemented, helping to reduce the birth rate, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping decided stronger action was needed.

The government generally enforced it by providing financial and employment incentives to those who complied, making contraceptives widely available and fining those who violated the rules. More coercive measures such as forced abortions and mass sterilisations were also used at times. The policy was more strictly implemented in urban areas.


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