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Shanghai relaxes one-child policy

Since implementation thirty years ago, China’s one-child policy has been criticized both in and outside of the country, and its record is somewhat mixed. The government claims that the policy has prevented over 400 million births, but many also blame the policy for leaving China with one of the most imbalanced populations in the world: ...

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Since implementation thirty years ago, China’s one-child policy has been criticized both in and outside of the country, and its record is somewhat mixed. The government claims that the policy has prevented over 400 million births, but many also blame the policy for leaving China with one of the most imbalanced populations in the world: heavily male and quickly ageing. 

In Shanghai, then, where the over-65 population is expected to grow to 12 percent in the next 11 years, the government will begin encouraging some couples to have a second child. This is not the first step for the Chinese government relaxing the policy, nor is it a surprise: propaganda campaigns were already de-emphasizing the strict rule two years ago, and numerous exemptions for different groups have been added over the years. In addition, the policy change in Shanghai will only apply to couples who are both only children, no doubt with the “four-two-one” problem in mind. Still, bringing this initiative to one of China’s biggest cities will be a major step, and it will be interesting to see how much more China relaxes the (still-popular) policy. 

LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images

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