China to abandon its decades long One-Child Policy

By Viola Zhou

China's Communist Party has decided to allow all couples to have two children, putting the 35-year-old One-Child Policy to an end, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The announcement was made after the party's Central Committee concluded its annual plenum today.

The strict family planning restriction was introduced in 1980 to curb the fast-growing population. Most couples were allowed to have one child only, with exceptions made to ethnic minorities and families with hukou, residence in some rural areas.

The policy was later loosened so parents could have a second child if both of them were born the only children.

One-Child Policy has been criticised for causing gender imbalance because of the traditional Chinese preference on boys and violating human rights, while Chinese authority has stressed on the its contribution to the economic boom.

China's ageing problem has been worsening in recent years, causing the working force to shrink.

In 2013, the policy was then further eased to allow couples to have two children if one of them was an only child, but the number of second-child applications remains low.

Many experts quoted by mainland media in the past two years suggested that the One-Child Policy be scrapped to solve the problem of ageing population.

Edited by Crystal Tse. Copy-edited by Mari Chow.

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