Among the 60 areas covered in the Communist Party’s “decision” document released after the third plenum of the 18th Central Committee, the most popular among ordinary people is a revision to the family planning policy to allow some couples to have a second child.
This new policy in China would allow couples that have one parent who grew up as an only child have a second baby. Whether or not a couple should have a second child is a decision that should be made within the family, but in China the right to make that decision has long been in the hands of the government.
The country’s birth rate is already below 1.04, and many academics say the party has acted too late. The aging population and labor shortages are already burdens on the economy, and the willingness of younger generations to have children has hit a historic low. Many academics think that the government should not only allow second children, but that they should do away with family planning policies altogether and in fact begin encouraging families to have more children.