China Allows More Exceptions to One-Child, Forced Abortion Family Planning Rules

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 24, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Allows More Exceptions to One-Child, Forced Abortion Family Planning Rules

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 24
, 2009

Beijing, China (LifeNews.com) — The Chinese government is allowing more exceptions to the forced abortion family planning policy that prohibits couples from having more than one baby. Although the Asian nation is not getting rid of the controversial program, it is allowing additional exceptions for some couples.

Thirty years after implementing the policy, which has resulted in forced abortions and sterilizations and massive human rights abuses, officials are now urging some couples to have a second child.

The new rules encourage parents who both have no other siblings — products of the one-child policy — to have two children.

Such parents are already eligible, but few take advantage of the exception and a new educational campaign by a city government hopes to change that.

The new push for more babies is meant to counter one of the growing international problems — underpopulation — which has resulted in worker shortages in many nations and birth rates below replacement level.

Shanghai, which has more than 20 million people, is leading the way with the new rules changes. But 22 percent of its residents are over the age of 60 and that number is already growing, signaling a sharp population decline in the next couple of decades.

“We advocate eligible couples to have two kids because it can help reduce the proportion of the aging people and alleviate a workforce shortage in the future,” Xie Lingli, director of the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission, told the China Daily newspaper.

The one-child policy has already been relaxed in some rural areas and for ethnic minorities.

Other cities could follow Shanghai’s lead because 8 percent of the nation’s residents are over the age of 65 and that number is also on the rise.

Zhang Meixin, a spokesman for the commission, told the London Times, "That is already near the average figure of developed countries and is still rising quickly."

"The current average number of children born to a woman over her lifetime is lower than one. If all couples have children according to the policy, it would definitely help relieve pressure in the long term," Zhang added.

The United Nations estimates that the number could triple to 25 percent by 2050.

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