China’s Relaxation Of One-Child Policy ‘Could Significantly Improve Lives’

Noting China last week relaxed its one-child policy to allow couples “to have two children if one parent is an only child,” as well as several other announced reforms, a New York Times editorial writes, “Set against the government’s authoritarian record, the announcements on family size … are genuinely surprising. China’s one-child policy in particular has defined the state’s power to control individual lives.” The editorial continues, “From time to time, the policy has been relaxed in some parts of the country and for certain ethnic minorities. But it has often been brutally applied to force women into abortions. The policy has been criticized not only by human rights advocates but by economists because it contributes to the aging of China’s population and its shrinking labor force.” The New York Times concludes, “But if carried through, some of the initiatives outlined in the latest meeting [of China’s Central Committee] could significantly improve the lives of Chinese people” (11/16).