As part of its efforts to boost its ageing population, China is in plans to abandon its birth limit policies altogether by the end of this year. The latest move could mark an end to the four-decade long most controversial social experiment that the world has ever seen.
Introduced in 1979, the Chinese one-child policy was relaxed for two children in 2016. The government says that the decision prevented almost 400 million births. However, critics argue that all the policy did was encourage female infanticide at an alarming rate together with other abuses. They also add that the Chinese birth rate was already falling away in line with other developing countries.
Some of the government sources say that the policy could be dubbed as independent fertility and could be implemented by the end of this year or in early 2019. It should also be noticed that relaxing the rules to two-child limit earlier did not have any impact on the population and has not boosted the birth rate in China as the government has hoped.
Professor Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London told The Independent that he didn’t think that the new policy will have any impact either. “People are not having children in China because they cannot afford them. That’s not going to change whether you have a one-child policy, a two-child policy or a 200-child policy,” he said.
China’s cabinet, the State Council, has commissioned a research to study the effects of ending the policy and intends to enact the change nationwide. With this move, the Chinese leadership wants to decrease the rate of ageing in the country’s population and also wants to remove the source of international criticism that it has been receiving since its implementation of the policy.
The United States and many other Western countries have many times criticised the coercive measures implemented by the Chinese government to control birth limits by means of forced abortions, sterilization and steep fines.
Many say that the government’s shift towards the two-child policy in 2016 was actually part of its gradual efforts to loosen the birth limits over the coming years.