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Meeting of China's NPC approves two-child policy

The policy" is "a proactive response to the issue of an aging population," state news says

China instituted a policy of one child per couple to control population growth in the 1970s

CNN —  

It’s official. From January 1, 2016 China will allow two children for every couple.

Chinese lawmakers rubber-stamped the new legislation Sunday during a session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, which governs the country’s laws, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

“The state advocates that one couple shall be allowed to have two children,” according to the newly revised Law on Population and Family Planning.

China will allow two children for every couple, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Thursday, a move that would effectively dismantle the remnants of the country’s one-child policy that had been eased in recent years.

“To promote a balanced growth of population, China will continue to uphold the basic national policy of population control and improve its strategy on population development,” Xinhua reported, citing a communique issued by the ruling Communist Party.

“China will fully implement the policy of ‘one couple, two children’ in a proactive response to the issue of an aging population.”

100 million couples

According to Lu Jiehua, a sociologist at Peking University, the policy will affect 100 million couples.

China, now a nation of more than 1.3 billion people, instituted a policy of one child per couple to control population growth in the 1970s.

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When its propaganda didn’t work, local officials resorted to abortions, heavy fines and forced sterilization.

The decision to end the restriction followed a four-day strategy meeting of senior Communist Party officials at a Beijing hotel, CNN’s former China correspondent David McKenzie said.

He has said the move was foreshadowed by a change in the propaganda: While old advertisements depicted parents doting on one child, he said, a recent commercial showed a boy begrudgingly sharing a toy with his younger sister.

’Not enough’

Human rights group Amnesty International issued a statement warning that the change in policy was “not enough.”

“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,” he said.

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Relaxation of policy

China began relaxing the controversial policy in January 2014, allowing couples to have a second baby if the mother or father was an only child.