China has announced the most significant change to its “one-child policy” in 30 years. Facing an aging population who will produce less work and require more care in the coming years, China will now allow couples to have two children if one of the parents is an only child.
Researchers, economists, and human rights groups are applauding the change.
“This is the most market-oriented and the most comprehensive package of reforms in two decades,” says Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution in Washington.
But some groups say the change isn’t enough.
All Girls Allowed, a group advocating against forced abortion and gender discrimination in China, estimates that 10% of all abortions in China are forced.
“While All Girls Allowed applauds the Chinese leadership for taking the first steps to ease the One-Child Policy, we believe it is not enough,” according to a press release on the group’s website. “What about the mother who cannot obtain a birth permit simply because she is unmarried? In June, the world watched the dramatic rescue of the “sewer baby,” whose mother was unmarried and gave birth in a toilet for fear of the authorities. Or what about the families that are eligible to have a second child, but get pregnant too soon? Under current law, many couples must wait at least four years to have another child. The restrictions are oppressive and unnecessary. This foolish and cruel policy should have been abolished in its entirety yesterday, not merely tweaked today.”