For 35 years, China had been a staunch advocate and ruthless enforcer of one of the world’s most controversial family-planning policies of all time. The One-Child Policy was the crown jewel of China’s communist government. But now, the Chinese Government has decided to revise its policy. They have changed it to a Two-Child Policy, effective from 1st January 2016. This change in policy has left many hailing it as the “end of an era”.
A Bit Of History
China saw an enormous surge in population during the ‘70s. This massive increase had the potential to deplete the natural resources of China. Imagine a country, through which great rivers constantly flow, facing a severe water crisis in the future, caused not by drought, but by a flood of people! The Chinese Government sought to change this bleak future, and thus the Family Planning Policy was officially adopted in 1979. The plan restricted families from having more than one child. Provincial governments imposed fines for violations by collecting a penalty in the form of the “social child-raising fee” from both parents.
Why The Change?
Well, for starters, there’s the social impact. Parents traditionally preferred boys to girls, so the sex-ratio ended up getting skewed. As there was only one child, many Chinese families over-indulged and spoilt them. Also, the burden of looking after the elderly parents and even grandparents fell up the shoulders of these single children. Then, natural calamities, like the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and other disasters robbed many families living in those areas of their sole heirs.
The One-Child Policy has left a mark even in the Chinese economy. Today, China faces a shortage of a young workforce as well as young consumers. The older generation vastly outnumbers the younger one. This has brought about a drastic change in the economy resulting in the formulation of radical economic policies, such as this one.
Thought the two-child norm will not bring about immediate changes, it will definitely have a positive impact in the long-run.