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China’s new two-child policy too little too late

Beijing (Agencies): In an October 29 statement, Amnesty International warned that China’s about-face on its one-child policy was insufficient. 

William Nee, a China researcher for the human rights organisation, said, “Couples that have two children could still be subjected to coercive and intrusive forms of contraception and even forced abortions—which amount to torture.” He stressed, “The state has no business regulating how many children people have.”

On October 29, the official Xinhua news agency reported a policy shift allowing married couples to have two children following the fifth plenum of the 18th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing. 

On October 30 AsiaNews quoted Shanghai-based Andy Xie, a former chief Asia economist for Morgan Stanley, as calling the move, too little, too late. He noted, “The population will begin to decline in 10 years. Why keep population planning?” 

Xinhua reports that China is faced with a shrinking labour force, an ageing population and a gender imbalance of 115 boys to every 100 girls. 

On the Weibo micro-blogging platform, one user calculated that it would cost 1.35 million yuan ($1.65 million) to raise a child up until marriage and that, on a monthly salary of 5,000 yuan ($6,131), it would take 45 years to earn enough for two children. “I just cannot afford it,” the poster wrote.

Economists, Tom Orlik and Fielding Chen, noted on that the impact on the birth rate and the economy would be limited due to the time lag before any new children enter the workforce, social pressures pushing young people to work harder and start families later, and multiple exceptions to the existing rule.


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