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China's One-Child Policy Ends as Country Grapples With Worker Shortage

Image: China's One-Child Policy Ends as Country Grapples With Worker Shortage
This photo taken on April 17, 2015 shows children playing in the schoolyard of the once-bustling Technical Secondary School in Rudong, Jiangsu province. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 29 Oct 2015 09:41 AM

China ended its one-child policy on Thursday, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua, and now couples are allowed to have up to two children.

The move appears to be the Communist country's response to an aging population and shrinkage of its workforce, The Washington Post reported. China's fertility rate of 1.4 children per woman was well behind many other nations in the developed world, leaving the country with a rapidly aging population.

The Post stated that the one-child policy, which has been in place since 1980, has resulted in a substantial decline in young labor for China's growing economy.

"Even though it came way too late, this really marks a historic point to end one of the most controversial and costly policies in human history," Wang Feng at the University of California at Irvine, told the newspaper. "But China for decades to come will have to live with the aftermath of this costly policy."

Liang Zhongtang, of the Shanghai Academy of Social Science, told the Asia Times in July that the policy grew to be outdated years ago.

"The core issue is not about one child or two children," Liang said. "It's about reproductive freedom. It's about basic human rights. In the past, the government failed to grasp the essence of the issue."

The one-child policy prevented an estimated 400 million births, and couples that violated it were punished by fines, the loss of employment and, in some cases, forced abortions, BBC News reported.

But the policy had been relaxed in some provinces recently in response to worker shortages and cost.

Couples in China may continue to have just one child though, since a family size of three has now become the social norm even though 30 percent of the country's population is now more than 50 years old. Others say even a two-child limit will not produce enough workers to meet China's needs.

"As long as the quotas and system of surveillance remains, women still do not enjoy reproductive rights," Maya Wang, of Human Rights Watch, said, according to BBC News.

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China ended its one-child policy on Thursday, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua, and now couples are allowed to have up to two children.
china, one, child, policy, ends
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2015-41-29
Thursday, 29 Oct 2015 09:41 AM
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