Reports of relaxing China’s one-child policy are misleading

News that the Chinese government is easing its one-child policy is “very misleading” says Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.

On Friday, Reuters reported China was going to ease family planning restrictions allowing millions of families to have two children.

Ruters called it the country’s most significant liberalisation of its strict one-child policy in about three decades.

However critics say the relaxation does not address the human rights violations at the policy’s core.

“The core of the policy is coercion,” Reggie Littlejohn, told CNA on Friday.

“The problem is, that the government is telling people how many kids they can have, and it is enforcing that limit coercively, including forcibly aborting women up to the ninth month of pregnancy.”

“While we are glad for the second babies who will be born under this adjustment, instituting a two-child policy in certain, limited circumstances will not end forced abortion or forced sterilisation.

“The problem with the One Child Policy is not the number of children ‘allowed.’ Rather, it is the fact that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is telling women how many children they can have and then enforcing that limit through forced abortion, forced sterilisation and infanticide.

“Even if all couples were allowed two children, there is no guarantee that the CCP will cease their appalling methods of enforcement”, said Ms Littlejohn.

“Further, instituting a two-child policy will not end gendercide.

“Indeed, areas in which two children currently are allowed are especially vulnerable to gendercide, the sex-selective abortion of females.”

According to the 2009 British Medical Journal study of 2005 national census data, in nine provinces, for “second order births” where the first child is a girl, 160 boys were born for every 100 girls.

The policy was implemented in the 1970s to control population growth. Officials now believe the policy harms economic growth and has rapidly aged the population without young people to support them.

Reuters reports China’s working age population decreased in 2012 for the first time in many years.

CNA reports Wang Feng, a sociology professor at Fudan University who specialises in demographics, said the policy change will have “minimal” impact on demographics but has “substantial” political significance.

However, Ms Littlejohn characterised the policy change as “a mere tweaking” based only on economic and demographic considerations, not a rejection of coercion.

“We have not seen any reduction in forced abortion or forced sterilisation in the countryside,” she said.


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