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Friday, November 15, 2013

China reforms: One-child policy to be relaxed


China reforms: One-child policy to be relaxed

Child in Qiyan, Shaanxi province, China (5 November)China's family-planning policy only allows most families to have a single child
China is to relax its policy of restricting most couples to have only a single child, state media say.
In future, families will be allowed two children if one parent is an only child, says the Xinhua news agency.
The one-child policy already exempts rural dwellers and ethnic minorities.
The move comes after this week's meeting of a key decision-making body of the governing Communist Party. Other reforms include the abolition of "re-education through labour" camps.
The network of camps created half a century ago holds thousands of inmates.
Police panels have the power to sentence offenders to years in camps without a trial.
China's leaders have previously said they wanted to reform the system.

Ageing China

Graphic
By 2050 more than a quarter of China's population will be over 65 years old and younger generations face an unprecedented burden of care.
The decision to do away with the camps was "part of efforts to improve human rights and judicial practices", Xinhua said.
The Third Plenum of the Communist Party under President Xi Jinping, who took power last year, also announced plans for economic reform.
Traditionally reforms are expected at the Third Plenum, because new leaders are seen as having had time to consolidate power.
Preference for boys
China introduced its one-child policy in the 1970s to curb rapid population growth.
It has on the whole been strictly enforced, though some exceptions already exist.
In some cities, both parents must be only children in order to be allowed to have a second child.
In the countryside, families are allowed to have two children if the first is a girl.
Rights groups say the law has meant some women being coerced into abortions, which Beijing denies.
The traditional preference for boys has also created a gender imbalance as some couples opt for sex-selective abortions.
By the end of the decade, demographers say China will have 24 million "leftover men" who, because of China's gender imbalance, will not be able to find a wife.