China has relaxed its one child policy by allowing couples to have two children if one spouse is an only child.
The one child policy was established by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1979 as an attempt to limit the country’s population growth. Although designated a “temporary measure,” the policy limiting couples to one child has lasted 34 years after its establishment.
The policy has mainly been restricted to ethnic Han Chinese living in urban areas. Citizens living in rural areas and minority ethnic groups in China are not subject to the law.It has been estimated to have reduced population growth by as much as 300 million people in the country of 1.3 billion over its first twenty years of application.Infographic: 10 Facts of China’s One Child Policy
Although it has been proved that the one child policy is effective in slowing down the population growth, the drawbacks it brings caused heated controversy within and without the country.
One of its result is the disdain for female infants: abortion, neglect, abandonment, and even infanticide have been known to occur to female infants. China today has the disparate ratio of 113 males for every 100 females among babies from birth through children four years of age, instead of the normal 105 to 100. Other problems include population aging and lacking of labors.
Now that millions of sibling-less people in China are now young adults in or nearing their child-bearing years, the country puts forward a special provision allowing millions of couples to have two children legally.
The change in policy offers people more choice in having a second baby. But it also brings along new problems. One of the most concerned issue for couples who can now have two babies is the high expense of bearing one more child.
Mao Zhuoyan, a researcher at the National Health and Family Planning Commission, which enforces the new policy said that as the cost of raising a child increases dramatically, people care more about the quality of a child’s life, not the number of children.
For the couples who both have siblings, they begin to wonder how their only child in the future can deal with the loneliness they avoided.