Three decades after enacting the draconian birth control rules blamed for millions of forced abortions, China is likely to introduce a two-child policy. According to reports in a Chinese daily, the new regulation allowing Chinese couples to have two children, may be implemented by the "end of the year if everything goes well”.
In an attempt to curb the sky-rocketing population growth, China’s Communist Party had brought the one-child policy into law in 1980. It is regarded as one of history’s biggest experiments in state-enforced engineering.
The government has been successful in preventing 400 million births by the policy, but forced sterilisations and abortions, infanticide has led to a dramatic gender imbalance.
The decision to bring in a two-child policy seems to have been driven by growing public opposition to family planning laws. Moves to loosen strict birth control rules is a response to a demographic “timebomb” created by the one-child policy.
Experts have warned that China’s 1.3 billion-strong population is ageing rapidly, while the labour pool is shrinking. The country will have nearly 440 million over-60s by 2050, according to UN estimates, placing a massive strain on government resources.
According to The Guardian, the working-age population – those aged between 15 and 59 – fell by 3.71 million in 2014, a trend that is expected to continue.