For quite some time, Chinese children were groomed to believe that siblings were not a part of their everyday life. However, those days are gone now. Out of fear of the fact that China’s ageing population might create potential stumbling blocks to its economic revival in the future the Communist Party of China (CPC)-led government on Thursday scrapped the one-child policy and encouraged all married couples to have another child. The decision is a challenging one. In the 1970s, the late communist leader and former President Deng Xiaoping hoped that “the fruits of economic growth are not devoured by population growth”. Being weary of the fact that population growth could devour China’s natural resources, the one-child rule was implemented then. The Chinese government did face protest on these lines especially after the government involved itself in intimate decisions of a couple including that of forced abortions, crippling fines, and many more. Most of the subjects of these interferences were the Chinese people occupying the countryside. However, such social engineering had led to further imbalances in Chinese society, especially in terms of their sex ratio. As most Chinese families preferred a boy over a girl, female infanticide became a common practice. The notion was that a boy was capable of labour and work.
After a meeting of the CPC, which issued the notice to take back the one-child policy, authorities from the National Health and Family Planning Commission informed the media that the two-child policy was important. The additional child born, they argued, would nullify China’s ageing population in the future. The lack of an additional child would create a scenario where there wouldn’t be a sufficient number of labourers required by the Chinese government to revive its economy. However, while most common people were surprised with this decision, many within China doubted the possible economic help in the future. Many believe that the potential baby boom doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. In 2013, China had also eased the one-child policy, with a caveat that a couple was allowed to have two children only if the father was the sole child in the family. However, in spite of this policy move, a lot of couples declined to have the second child due to rising prices and overall expenditure. They said big cities especially Beijing was too expensive for a second child. If that were to happen, they would have to compromise on their comfort and lifestyle in order to afford another child, which they were not willing to have. Though the decision has been made public to allow for a second child, it would take some time for the local populace to make that a reality. It is because just like the case in 2013, the Chinese government will have to review the decision and introduce general policies and mandate to this decision, only after which this policy would finally come into action. Certain experts argue that this process might even take several months to materialise.
Ever since the global financial crisis struck in 2009, China’s economic growth has been extremely slow. Some experts have even dared to say that the Chinese economy is not as strong as it was earlier. With an ageing population, economic growth would definitely move at a slower pace. However, the second child policy is a dicey affair as people might just be reluctant to go the Government’s way this time around.