China admits one-child policy was hard on families

Beijing, March 4 (IANS) China had to pay a high price for its one-child policy which it recently abolished, admitted Fu Ying, spokesperson of the 12th National People’s Congress, on Friday, the eve of the annual parliamentary session.

There are conflicting emotions over the policy — which for more than 30 years prevented most married couples from having more than one child — because, on the one hand, it helped check China’s high population growth but, on the other, families and individuals had to suffer, Efe quoted Fu as saying.

The spokesperson said these negative effects made it necessary to reform the controversial demographics policy, and allow all Chinese couples to have two children from January 1, 2016 onwards.

Fu, however, claimed that the one-child policy, in force from the end of the 1970s till 2015, will have its place in history.

Some of the concerns that emerged during its prevalence, including the fear that it would bring about a generation of ’emperors’, or egoist children, had gradually dissipated, he said.

Instead, China now boasts of a generation of young people full of love and strength, who do not have to worry about lack of food, the spokesperson added.

According to Chinese demographers, the one-child policy helped keep the country’s population to the current 1.4 billion — against what would have otherwise gone up to 1.7 billion — and contributed towards reducing extreme poverty in China.

However, they also admit that the policy had negative effects, such as an ageing population, increasing selective abortions (if the foetus was female) and abandonment of new-born children by families that preferred a male child.

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