In the late 1960s, China was seriously concerned about population explosion. From 60s to 70s, the number of births ascended from 300 million to 800 million or more. Statistics depict how population was a problem for the country. During the 1980s, the Chinese government presented various strategies for family planning.”One child, one policy” was at the centre stage of the reforms. One could cite the population growth behind the background of these reforms. Ethnic minorities and parents who initially conceived handicapped child were excluded.

The One child policy which was profoundly accepted by urban communities and rural communities were not enthusiastic to institute the reforms.  Despite the fact that there were positive impacts of the policy in different parts of society, the grey areas were considered dominant. For instance, there was a wide gender difference between the male and female. Situations have arisen where there were fewer females compared to males.

To allay the limitations, government brought forward the “two child policy” in 2016. Couples were allowed to have two children in their homes. However as per the sources, parents seemed not interested to have another child due to various reasons like increasing family budget.

In order to address the concerns in the two-child policy and for further progressive development, government enacted the “three-child policy” which was effectively implemented in August 2021. Thus, if we could trace the population control history of China, these are some of the significant policies. That for a longer period the authorities were considering various measures to pervade the discrepancies on family planning programmes.

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Subsequently, the government initiated another decisive step by abolishing three laws in family planning. Let me give you a slight idea about these three regulations;

In order to ensure that people use and avail healthy contraceptive methods, government has made these services without any charge in the urban areas. Also, research and other studies were developed on these areas. These regulations were enacted in 2004 which was revised again and was enacted in 2009.

Regulations enacted in 2002 charge a particular fee on a couple who violates the norms of the “one child” policy. According to the government, this should not be considered as a penalty but as an administrative charge. Also, family planning programmes were launched for migrant workers which shall be managed by local government and other authorities.

As per the government sources, family planning programmes have created a favourable social economic development in the country. In 2011, the leadership contended that the policy had led to the prevention of 400 million births. Some of the positive results in the limelight are:

  1. a) Policy was able to curb the population growth.
  2. b) More awareness on the concept of family and foetal rights.
  3. c) Improved standard of living and economic development
  4. d) Awareness of freedom and liberation on women rights.

However, the implementation of these laws was not totally a success. Fertility rates decreased, child birth declined and there was a rise in the aging population. Also, due to the enforcement measures, abortion rates were high.

Thus, it was essential for the state to revamp the policies. As a step, government has scrapped three laws. As reported by a news agency, government believes that the new supportive measures will help to cope up with the country’s ageing population and there would be enough human resources as required in future.

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But critics opine that relaxing birth controls would not be an effective measure as the two-child policy was not effective as desired.  There are two factors that could pull out the policy.

One, temptation to control and manipulate people may not be considered on a positive note by the people.

Second, the results are not always predictable in these sorts of policy measures.

A census was conducted in the country which reveals that unlike the 18 million babies in 2016, it was only 12 million in 2020. Experts have suggested for a lifting of the birth restrictions gradually. There would be a disparity in the rural and urban populations, women may be reluctant to adopt new policies initially but the tiny reforms can set the foundation stronger for a future. Thus, repeal of the three regulations in the family planning structure could be considered as a new beginning for a prosperous China.

Ahmad Said wrote in from Oxford, United Kingdom

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