China considers changing restrictive one-child policy
Chinese officials said today the country is prepared to make some changes to its long-standing and controversial one-child, family planning policy.
Chun’an Mao, a spokesman for China’s top population authority, told China Daily that “fine-tuning” the policy is high on the commission’s agenda.
There was some speculation that China was ready to abandon the policy altogether at their annual party meetings this week, but Mao signaled less dramatic changes are in store. China Daily reports that one idea being floated is that couples where either the husband or wife is an only child may be allowed to have a second child.
As it stands now, the 30-year-old policy bars most people from having more than one child. Families that violate the law are forced to pay steep fines. Human rights organizations have also found that in some cases (women are forced to terminate their pregnancies.)[http://www.npr.org/2012/07/05/156211106/after-a-forced-abortion-a-roaring-debate-in-china]
While the policy has slowed China’s population growth, experts say the policy is actually hurting its economic development. They point to it as being one of the main reasons for the country’s shrinking work force and large gender imbalance.
Mao said any decision on the future of the policy will take such factors into account.