News / Asia

China to Loosen One-Child Policy

A paramilitary soldier stands guard behind a chain as the giant portrait of the late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong is seen in the background in Tiananmen square, Nov. 12, 2013.
A paramilitary soldier stands guard behind a chain as the giant portrait of the late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong is seen in the background in Tiananmen square, Nov. 12, 2013.
William Ide
China says that it plans to ease its one-child policy and abolish a controversial system of re-education through labor that often arbitrarily puts activists and those who would challenge the Communist Party behind bars. The announcement, along with other significant reforms, comes days after China wrapped up a key closed-door policy meeting in Beijing.

This week's summit was notable for the lack concrete detail that left many wondering just what the road ahead for reform in China would look like. But late Friday, the Communist Party revealed a more complete plan for reform from now until 2020.
 
The lengthy document outlined 60 tasks the party aims to tackle in that period. The wide-ranging reforms include long anticipated economic changes as well as cultural, political, social and environmental reforms.
 
According to the reform plans, China’s state-run companies will face more competition from private enterprises in the future and limits would be eased on foreign investments in areas such as e-commerce and other businesses.
 
For three decades, China’s economy has been booming. But this year it is expected to grow at its weakest pace in 23 years.  The plans announced Friday mark one of China’s biggest economic overhauls since the early 1990s.
 
In addition to economic reforms, the plans will include changes to social policies that have long been a source of domestic as well as international criticism for China.
 
The Xinhua news agency reports that China will ease its one-child policy, which was first introduced in the late 1970s. According to the announcement, couples will now be allowed to have two children, if one of the parents is an only child.
 
Some activists have welcomed the changes, but noted the reforms failed to address basic problems that Chinese society now faces. China’s ruling Communist Party says it needs to slow population growth to conserve resources. But it is facing a dilemma as more Chinese retire and fewer enter the work place.
 
Chinese activist Yang Zhizhu says the proposed changes will continue to deny a basic human right and fail to address the country’s aging population.
 
“On the one hand, the government admits that the population is aging, but its birth control regulations fail to address that problem," he said. "The right to have children is something that has existed for thousands of years in the history of humanity."
 
Maya Wang (阿莲) is a China researcher with Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong.
 
“The fact that couples, [if] either of which is a single child, can have one more child, these kind of families can have two children now, doesn’t take away the fact that the entire system continues to violate women’s rights, in particular reproductive rights. So the term loosening has to be used in a cautious way,” said Wang.

The proposed changes said little, however, about those families that have more than one child who is not officially registered with the government. Chinese citizens all carry an internal passport called a hukou that is necessary for access to education, healthcare and jobs.

Officials in China estimate that there are currently about 13 million Chinese who lack such documents.

In addition to announcing curbs on its one-child policy, the Communist Party says it would work step by step to reduce the number of crimes that are subject to the death penalty. The party also says that it would abolish its re-education through labor system to, as it puts it, “protect human rights.”

Under the current system, police can sentence alleged offenders to years in labor camps without a trial. It is unclear what will replace the camps, which are estimated to hold as many as 190,000 people.
 
The system has long been a source of controversy. Rights activists say it is an important means for authorities to suppress activists and those who would speak up.
 
Maya Wang from Human Rights Watch says, "People who complain about the government, political activists, people who write columns criticizing the Chinese government have all been sent to these facilities to punish them for their activism. So this is why the abolition of the re-education through labor system is significant.”

Wang adds, however, that this is just one way that the Chinese government punishes dissent and not necessarily a sign that it will stop using other methods to do the same.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: chelsea from: china
November 16, 2013 7:00 AM
For the first one child of the China,even now it is allowed to have another child,but my husband and I don't have courage to have another baby,because we are not young enough;what's more, it's quite expensive to have a baby,we need to speed lots of money to afford her/his education,foods,hospital charge.


by: Anonymous
November 15, 2013 1:13 PM
William Ide, Such a low classy picture. dis-pointed by ""

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid