China’s One Child Policy Era is Over
The New Year 2016 marks reproductive freedoms for Chinese citizens. After 40 years living with the strict one child policy, China decided to end the controversial one-child policy and encouraging all couples to have two children. The new law is effective from January 1st 2016, after it got passed in the standing committee of the National People’s Congress on December 27th 2015.
China one child policy was introduced nationally in 1979, to slow the population of growth rate. However, some provinces had relaxed the one child policy in certain cases. Such as if one parent is an only child, they are allowed to have two children. The same exceptions also applied if the couple’s first child was a girl. As of 2007, only 35.9% of the population were subject to a strict one-child limit. 52.9% were permitted to have a second child if their first was a daughter; 9.6% of Chinese couples were permitted two children regardless of their gender; and 1.6%—mainly Tibetans—had no limit at all. Chinese government estimated that the one child policy have prevented 400m births since it began. However, concerns of China’s ageing population led to pressure for change.
According to China’s Health Ministry, millions of women have been forced to end their “illegal pregnancies” as the effect of one child policy — and since 2000, such abortions have numbered about seven million a year. For example, the case of Feng Jianmei, 22-year-old woman who was forced to have an abortion in the seventh month of her pregnancy in June 2012. Her husband Deng Jiyuan, a 29-year-old farmer, was trying to secure a birth permit up to the last minute, but could not afford to pay the fine of 40,000 yuan ($6,300) demanded by officials.
The same case happens to Sun Mingmei, when she found her unexpected pregnancy in last August 2015. Due to the fines that more than 200,000 yuan ($31,250), she decided to give up the baby within two months through abortion. Sadly, two months after her abortion China’s government announced the decision to end one child policy.
The sad case like Feng Jianmei or Sun Mingmei will never happen anymore to another woman who’d like to give birth to their second child. Because starting on January 1st 2016, all second babies born on this date and after will be “legal”. According to Xinhua News Agency, the decision to end the one child policy and applying the new rules that allow families to have two children was designed “to improve the balanced development of population” and to deal with an aging population. Currently from around 1.36 billion China’s total population, 30% of them are over the age of 50.