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Xi abolishes labor camps, relaxes one-child policy
November 16, 2013, 4:41 am

These reforms were approved at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held from November 9-12 in Beijing [Xinhua]

These reforms were approved at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held from November 9-12 in Beijing [Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced major reforms in policy including abolishing the controversial forced labor camps and relaxing the one-child policy.

“Legal reform is one of the key points of this comprehensive reform,” Xi said.

An archaic law since 1957 allows the Chinese police to detain petty criminals and put them in forced labor camps without going through the courts.

China will also loosen its decades-long one-child population policy, allowing couples to have two children if one of them is an only child, according to a key decision issued on Friday by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

These reforms were approved at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held from November 9-12 in Beijing.

A CPC document released after the meet pledged to further financial liberalization and crucial land reforms.

The “adjusted” birth policy will promote “long-term balanced development of the population in China,” it said.

Relaxing the policy will keep China’s birth rate at a stable level, said Guo Zhenwei, a family-planning official with China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission.

China should keep its total fertility rate at around 1.8, while the current rate is between 1.5 to 1.6, allowing the country to maneuver its population policy, says Guo.

China’s family planning policy was first introduced in the late 1970s to rein in the surging population by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two children, if the first child born was a girl.

One-child families are entitled to bonuses and other benefits.

Official statistics show such families account for 37.5 percent of China’s more than 1.3 billion population.

The policy was later relaxed, with its current form stipulating that both parents must be only children if they are to have a second child.

Since its implementation, it is estimated the controversial policy has resulted in a reduction of some 400 million people in China.

China’s labor force, at about 940 million, decreased by 3.45 million year on year in 2012, marking the first “absolute decrease.”

The labor force is estimated to decrease by about 29 million over the current decade.

Meanwhile, the country’s growing elderly population aged 60 and over, which accounted for 14.3 percent of the total currently, is forecast to exceed one third of the population in 2050.

Gender imbalance is another side effect of the one-child policy. Chinese parents’ preference for sons led to the abortion of female foetuses due to the policy.

About 118 boys are born for every 100 girls in 2012, higher than the normal ratio of 103 to 107 boys for every 100 girls.

 

Source: Agencies

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