Sibling rivalry

China reforms one-child policy, allows for 2 children

A family walks along a street in Beijing. (WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

As of January 1, 2016, China will officially allow couples to have two children, so says the newly revised Law on Population and Family Planning. Officials approved the new birth policy on Sunday. It marks the end of the one-child policy, which has been in place since 1980 and led to a rapid decline in birth rates.

When news of the planned change broke in October, the Communist party said that it would be “a proactive response to the issue of an aging population.”

China worries it may become home to the oldest population on Earth in just 15 years, with an ensuing labor shortage when more than 400 million of its citizens are over age 60.

The Chinese government began relaxing the one-child policy in early 2014, allowing exceptions for parents who were only children themselves. But the move did not spark a boom in births with parents citing the high costs of raising children.

Amnesty International does not think the official reform is enough. “Chinese women will remain at risk of intrusive forms of contraception and coerced or forced abortions, despite the authorities announcing a change to the country’s decades-long one-child policy,” the group said in response to the news.

Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.

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