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China formally eased one-child policy and abolished labour camps

Dec 28, 2013 12:12 IST

The top legislature of China on 28 December 2013 adopted a resolution that eases the one child policy of the country. The resolution was passed by the standing committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

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The resolution has allowed the couples of China to have two children if either parentis an only child. Earlier, a couple generally had a second child only if both parents were only children. It also approved proposal that abolishes re-education through labour camps. The policy had an exception, which included the ethnic minorities and couples who both lacked siblings.

The policy changes were announced following a meeting of top Communist Party officials in November 2013. These reforms came at the end of the six day meet of the congress after this was tested in parts of the country. To be put into effect, it just needed a approval by the legislature.  

The one-child policy was introduced in 1979 in China. The decision was taken to curb the rapid population growth. The policy restricted the couples in urban areas to only one child, whereas in rural areas families were allowed to have two children only in case the first one was a girl.

As per the policy about one-third of the total population of 1.3 billion citizens of China couldn’t have a second child without incurring a fine. This led to a gender imbalance occurred in China because of the preference for a boy child.

The policy has become increasingly unpopular and leaders fear the country's ageing population will both reduce the labour pool and exacerbate elderly care issues. By 2050, more than a quarter of the population will be over 65.

 

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