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Communist Party third plenum

The Chinese Communist Party's third plenum of the 18th Party Congress traditionally sets the economic tone for the Chinese government's next five-year term.

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POLITICS

One-child policy to be eased at long last after third plenum resolution

Third plenum resolution calls for controversial policy to be gradually relaxed and orders end to labour camp punishment for petty criminals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 7:25pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 November, 2013, 7:29am
 

Poll

  • Yes: 32%
  • No: 68%
16 Nov 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 222

The Communist Party's central committee has responded to long-time calls to relax the one-child policy and to put an end to notorious labour camps.

Participants at the third plenum, which ended on Tuesday, agreed to gradually change and improve the birth policy, starting with allowing families where just one parent is a single child to have a second child.

The decisions were part of a raft of new measures mentioned in a resolution of the plenum released by Xinhua last night.

In an explanation of the resolution, Communist Party chief Xi Jinping said reforms were the only way unify the public and to enable the country to compete with capitalism.

"To push forward sustainable, healthy economic and social development, there is no other way but to deepen reforms and opening up," Xi said.

To push forward sustainable, healthy economic and social development, there is no other way but to deepen reforms and opening up
Communist Party chief Xi Jinping

A demographer who drafted the proposal to relax the one-child policy said yesterday the reform would most likely be carried out in phases.

It would probably start in provinces that have long had low birth rates, such as the eastern part of the country, before it is implemented nationwide.

Further relaxation of the one-child policy, such as allowing all couples to have a second child without any restraints, might be introduced after 2020.

The policy change is expected to affect urban residents born in the 1970s only, because rural residents are already allowed to have a second child if their first-born is a girl.

Urban residents born in the 1980s and 1990s are already entitled to have a second child if both parents are already single children as the result of the one-child policy that was implemented in the late 1970s.

Chen Wei, a demographer at Beijing's Renmin University, said the policy was being relaxed because of the nation's lingering low birth rate, a sharp drop in the labour force aged below 30 and an abnormally high ratio of newborn boys to girls.

The party also announced it would abolish the notorious, decades-old practice of sending petty criminals and government critics to forced labour.

Experts applauded the scrapping of the punishment regime, known as laojiao, that gave police unilateral power to send people to labour camps for up to four years without trial.

But they were worried it would be replaced by another form of extra-judicial punishment that would still involve arbitrary detention without court approval - particularly when "stability maintenance" was still an over-arching goal of the government.

Nicholas Bequelin, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: "The tiger is not going to change its stripes.

"But given this situation within the framework of China's current political system, I think the abolition of re-education through labour is a very positive step - so long as it is not replaced by a similar system that allows for arbitrary detention."

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This article is now closed to comments

Giwaffe
Continuous population growth is unsustainable, like a running faucet and a sink that cannot drain fast enough; why don't the majority of folks realize this?
It seems to me that "replacement birth rates" or "sustainable birth rates” are weasel words used to imply and subliminally suggest that the population must, at a minimum, be maintained. It’s as if it is the end of the world when population numbers drop. But when you have over a billion people (many of whom try to find any means possible to leave such a forsaken place), there is nothing wrong with population decline. In fact, it should be welcomed.
The matter of aging populations could possibly be mitigated if we recognized the fundamental right of people to die. After all, are there not strong and vocal arguments for right to life? In order for there to be balance, the right to life must necessarily be accompanied by the right to die. Otherwise, it's like a building with entrances and no exits--more commonly known as a prison. Without the right to die by choice, life is like a prison.
Anyone, including the elderly, must have the right to die at any time they so choose. I reckon the number of elderly would drop quite a bit once this fundamental right is recognized.
Giwaffe
Continuous population growth is unsustainable, like a running faucet and a sink that cannot drain fast enough; why don't the majority of folks realize this?

It seems to me that "replacement birth rates" or "sustainable birth rates” are weasel words used to imply and subliminally suggest that the population must, at a minimum, be maintained. It’s as if it is the end of the world when population numbers drop. But when you have over a billion people (many of whom try to find any means possible to leave such a forsaken place), there is nothing wrong with population decline. In fact, it should be welcomed.

The matter of aging populations could possibly be mitigated if we recognized the fundamental right of people to die. After all, are there not strong and vocal arguments for right to life? In order for there to be balance, the right to life must necessarily be accompanied by the right to die. Otherwise, it's like a building with entrances and no exits--more commonly known as a prison. Without the right to die by choice, life is like a prison.

Anyone, including the elderly, must have the right to die at any time they so choose. I reckon the number of elderly would drop quite a bit once this fundamental right is recognized.
crbfile
easing the one-child policy is an cultural disaster for China and the world. forget the extra ecological burdens - how is China going to educate more people? it seems they haven't educated enough of the people they have now! China society decries lack of religion and high ethical values. Most of society in China today does not live up to the Chinese cultural idea. More people is going to worsen the situation, not improve it.
swami.vas
Promising changes in the pipeline worth watching as they get implemented!
rpasea
As an employer in China with many female staff of child bearing age, should I prepare for the financial impact of multiple maternity leaves??
ianson
So what's the new population growth projection? Will there be sufficient potable water to go around?
scmpbeijing1
Don't suppose this unprecedentedly prompt release of the 3rd plenum doc was an attempt to divert the media spotlight away from Grandpa Wen and his unfeasibly rich relatives? Along with the unpleasant possibility that aforesaid media might consider returning to the investigation into the finances of another top leader's family (whose names rhymes with pee) with renewed vigor. No, of course not!
 
 
 
 
 

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