Every couple will now be allowed two children, a move that will effectively “dismantle the remnants of the country’s one-child policy that had been eased in recent years,” reports CNN.
Xinhua news agency reported last Thursday that China will continue to uphold the basic national policy of population control and improve its strategy on population development.
“China will fully implement the policy of ‘one couple, two children’ in a proactive response to the issue of an aging population.”
They are now hoping to dissuade the population from having a second child through advertisements. Reports CNN’s former China correspondent David McKenzie:
“The move was foreshadowed by a change in the propaganda: While old advertisements depicted parents doting on one child […], a recent commercial showed a boy begrudgingly sharing a toy with his younger sister.”
100 million couples will be affected by this change if the proposal is approved by the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, in March.
It was in the 1970’s that China instituted a policy of one child per couple to control population growth. When propaganda to have only one child did not work, local officials resorted to abortions, heavy fines, and forced sterilization. The effects of such treatment have adversely affected the population, reports The Washington Post.
In 2012, 6.7 million women in China were forced to have abortions under the one-child policy, according to official statistics. Rates in previous decades often topped 10 million a year. As a result, experts say, suicide rates among women in China are significantly higher than among men, in contrast to global norms.
“Unimaginable numbers of girls are secretly aborted or killed in infancy every year by parents seeking boys, skewing the sex ratio dramatically.”
If the new policy passes successfully, the fear many Chinese families live under will be reduced dramatically. Or, at least, that’s the message being promoted.
Human rights organization Amnesty International disagrees. The organization recently issued a statement warning that the change in policy is “not enough,” because similar forms of “torture” will likely be carried out even if couples have two children.
“Couples that have two children could still be subjected to coercive and intrusive forms of contraception, and even forced abortions — which amount to torture,” China researcher William Nee said. “The state has no business regulating how many children people have.”
The one-child legislation was relaxed in January of 2014, allowing couples to have a second baby if the mother or father was an only child. In result, nearly 1 million couples have applied to take up the opportunity, while many Chinese families are satiated with one daughter or son. If the policy passes, it will lead to as many as 2 million new children being born in the country that already boasts 1.3 billion.
This story was originally published on True Activist.