Chinese media is announcing that its government will abolish its one-child policy, allowing couples to have two children, for the first time in more than three decades. The controversial rule had been adopted by Communist leaders in 1980 to prevent what they saw as potentially dramatic population explosion. While the government says the rule prevented some 400 million births, it has also been widely criticized for its human rights implications, as it led to infanticide, forced sterilizations and abortions, plus a dramatic gender imbalance. Opponents also argued that it caused a “demographic time bomb,” as it would lead to an aging population and a shrinking labor pool. Rumors that the government was ready to abolish the policy had been growing since a Chinese newspaper reported three months ago that the government was ready to faze it out by the end of this year. “The core issue is not about one child or two children. It’s about reproductive freedom,” Liang Zhongtang, a demographer at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science, already argued in July. “It’s about basic human rights. In the past, the government failed to grasp the essence of the issue.”
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