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China eases notorious one-child policy, abolishes labor camps

Published time: December 28, 2013 04:16
AFP Photo / Wang Zhao

AFP Photo / Wang Zhao

China’s top legislative committee has loosened the rules around its controversial one-child policy and abolished labor camps, according to state media.

The National People's Congress approved the decisions at the end of a six-day meeting, according to Xinhua news agency.

The new rules will widen existing exceptions to the one-child policy. One of the moves is to allow couples to have two children if neither of the parents have any siblings.

Beijing has maintained that its one-child policy, which was first introduced more than three decades ago, helps keep the country’s rapidly growing population in check.

But the policy’s application has been widely criticized. Photos emerged last year of a woman who was forced to abort her baby seven months into her pregnancy.

China is now facing several demographic problems, including an increasing aging population, a declining workforce, and male-female imbalances.

The country’s birth rate has fallen to about 1.5 since the 1990s – well below the replacement rate, according to Xinhua.

Despite amendments to the one-child policy, critics are still unhappy that China continues to exercise the right to decide how many children a family is allowed to have.

China has also decided to abolish labor camps, which have been long-criticized by human rights organizations.

The country adopted the policy of re-education through labour camps for petty criminals in 1957. However, the system soon became rife with abuse, prompting international players to criticize the setup.

The scrapping of labor camps received support from the ruling Communist Party at its Third Plenum meeting last month.

Comments (11)


Conor 29.12.2013 13:36

The 'humanitarian' notion of actively encouraging people to breed like rabbits is exactly the opposite. In reality, such attitudes and policies lead only to misery further afield when overpopulation leads to a decline in living standards for everybody. China's one policy is harsh, but sensible in a nation of over 1.3 billion people. With pollution levels and smog at an all time high in China, easing the one-child policy before the country tackles its energy & environmental problems first might as well mean opening the floodgates to disaster.


Davis-Guess Wendy 29.12.2013 07:22

"A second child?LOL. ..[/quote]

The comments here only confirm what I suspected - you have no idea what is going on. China is an emerging economy. They have a new middle class. It is not the China of yesterday. Will it last? Do not know. Corruption is bad there too. The worry is that debt due to the tune of some outrageous number, deemed unpayable and America in a fire sale - to the highest bidder which would guessed right...China. 8 out of every 10 homes sold in Calif is said to be to an Asian family or investor. They leave them empty or rent them. Do not underestimate what a couple of famines do


Lila 29.12.2013 03:32

the USA Govt will own the rest of the space/land. No civilians will be able to own any land. From this point on China is moving towards being a free country whereas the USA is moving the opposite direction, backwards! The USA's constitution will soon be rendered invalid. All of its amendments will be scraped. If you still want freedom you might want to move to China from the USA.

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