November 15, 2013

China changes its 1-child policy to allow 2 children if one parent was an only child.

I can't tell from the CNN report what happens where both parents were only children, but I'm guessing the rule is a maximum of 2 children, and that rule applies if either or both parents were only children.

And, for what it's worth: China announces it's abolishing labor camps. 

ADDED: Here's a more substantial article:

For decades, most urban couples have been restricted to having one child. That has been changing slowly in some cities, which have had rules on the books that couples can have two children if both parents are single children. That policy will be further relaxed nationwide. Many rural couples already have two, or sometimes more, children....

If carried through, the relaxation would mark the first significant nationwide easing of family-size restrictions that were put in place from the 1970s, said Wang Guangzhou, a demographer at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

“This is the first time that a central document has clearly proposed allowing two children when a husband or wife is an only child," said Mr. Wang, in a telephone interview. “Now it’s just talking about launching this, but the specific policies have to be developed at the operational level.”
I note that if a couple has that second child, they are depriving their own first child of the right to have more than one child (unless that child marries an only child).

On the labor camps, the new rule is:
“Abolish the system of re-education through labor,” said the decision, which proposed expanding community correction to partly replace the system.

“This is a significant step forward,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher who specializes on China with Human Rights Watch, an advocacy organization with headquarters in New York.

“It doesn’t mean that China is going to be kinder to dissent and to its critics,” said Mr. Bequelin. “But it’s an important step to do away with a system that not only profoundly violated human rights, but was also standing in the way of any further legal reform.”


George M. Spencer said...

Yes, and from now on they'll just be called "Really, Really Hard Work Camps."


Calling Mr. Orwell.

Ann Althouse said...

Now, when you go there, you're going to a place that doesn't exist.

Comforting… or more disappeared than ever.

test said...

The article is incomplete / misleading I think. China's policy already allowed two children if both parents were without siblings. The change is to allow two kids even if only one is an only child. So it's not the first step away from "only one", it's a slight expansion of the current exceptions.

And yes, they're still capped at two.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Marshall.

John henry said...

If I was China I would be really pissed. We (the US) keep talking about how many people China has locked up. About 1.6mm.

Yet the US has 2.3mm locked up.

As a percentage of population it is far, far, worse.

And THEY are the bad guys on this?

John Henry

PS-For the innumerate "mm" above is millions.

Douglas B. Levene said...

The announcement about the abolishment of the forced labor system is very encouraging, if it actually happens. The story is that Secretary Xi hates the forced labor system because his father spent 7 years in a forced labor camp during the Cultural Revolution. The rumor before the Plenum was that Xi did not have enough power to abolish the forced labor camp system over the opposition of the Maoist old guard, but I guess that was not correct. Maybe. We shall see.

Gabriel Hanna said...

China has freedom of speech and freedom of religion too. Says so right in their constitution.

As for John, the US has much higher violent crime rates than China has--and China punishes people for things that are not crimes as we understand them.

Furthermore, China executes roughly 5000 people every year, while the US executed 43 last year. Every single execution in the US was for a violent crime, but again in China people are punished for things are not crimes.

John's moral equivalence argument is not just lame, it is evil.

Curious George said...

So if my math is right, that's 50% more baby girls to sell into slavery.

Douglas B. Levene said...


Yes, the Chinese Communist Party might make a big show about being called on their lack of a rule of law, and the Party might even attempt to use the high number of people imprisoned in the US as a defense to the accusation that China jails lots of people without trial or a judicial hearing of any kind frequently and for long periods of time.
And it's even possible that a few Westerners might even buy that excuse, perhaps as a way to manage their own agenda against the the US. But most ordinary Chinese people are quite happy to have the US speak up against the forced labor system, which they all hate.

madAsHell said...

My daughter spent a year teaching English in China.
You just had to pay more when the second child arrived.

John henry said...


Not trying to claim moral equivalence. I would have no problem pointing out that China executes many multiples of the number we do. Rumor has it, sometimes just to harvest organs.

Here's a thought: Perhaps China's violent crime rate is lower than that of the US because of the 5,000 executions? If the rate is really lower, that is. Got any citations?

China does a lot of things I find repugnant.

We still have many more people both in absolute and especially percentage terms under lock and key than China does.

Lots of things we could take China to task for. I am no fan.

Incarceration is hardly one of them.

John Henry

John henry said...

Re GH comment on Chinese executions, some of the executees are politicians. Corruption and incompetence can be capital crimes under Chinese law.

Looking at what goes on the the DC sausage factory, I sometimes think this might be a good idea.

Then I snap out of my daydream.

John Henry

John henry said...

Make that "incarceration relative to the US is hardly one of them."

John Henry

wildswan said...

The one child policy doesn't mean just a one time fine (that fine BTW, is in itself ruinous) but the policy also means that "the parents also have to pay for both the children to go to school and all the family's health care." Wikipedia

FleetUSA said...

As I'm learning here at the Professor's blog, there were loopholes in the one child policy.

I had a Chinese staff accountant who had a brother and her dad was a high ranking military officer. At the time, I thought it was a privilege connected to his rank.

Peter said...

Perhaps they just noticed that sex-selective abortion has produced an excess of males, and/or realized that males need not be counted when it comes to projections of population increase?

Or perhaps they just figure the 21st century will be the Chinese Century, and they to expect to acquire some lebensraum?

jimbino said...

Wow. Good for China. Imagine how many folks will have brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins and nephews and nieces for the first time!

wildswan said...

Wow,imagine how many people will have a brother or a nephew for the first time. Wow, imagine how many people will kill a second daughter for the first time. Wow, imagine the sex imbalance twenty years from now. Wow, imagine the apologies: "It was wrong to kill so many the girls. We should have realized that killing baby girls meant there wouldn't be very many women. It was almost like a war on women except we are progressives so it wasn't that."

William said...

I've read that slaves and serfs had one inalienable right: the right to be fed. If your master could not feed you, the bonds of servitude, were relaxed, and the serf or slave could move on to try and find a meal. The work camps of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were a considerable improvement over this archaic form of bondage. You could work people to death without ever having to feed them. I think Hitler discovered that if you gave the workers 600 calories a day, they could last for months without dying. Totalitarian regimes were thus able to develop a more abject form of slavery, and, more importantly, an educated class who were able to sing its praises.

Smilin' Jack said...

Sounds like a great leap forward.

Rusty said...

John said...
Re GH comment on Chinese executions, some of the executees are politicians. Corruption and incompetence can be capital crimes under Chinese law.

So is some apparatchik that needs a new liver.

Cedarford said...

William - I doubt that Hitler himself "discovered 600 calories was the way to go". No more than "Hitler built the V-2 rocket". "Obama killed bin Laden". "Reagan created 14 million jobs" We tend to accrue all that happened in a particular time in history to the Leader...and it is lazy and almost always, factually bogus.

As for work camps...nothing wrong with that. It's just how they are run. The US had prison work camps and the famous "chain gangs" doing work where the work camps sent them for most of the 20th century. After pressure from government unions wanting to do the work but for 30 times the pay and benefits the cons got, and liberals that thought it beastly to force cons to work - states by the 70s mostly ended it. Though you still see places like Arizona and LA's Angola Prison farm believing it is part of rehabilitation. Most States went with the idea that it was easier and a lot less hassle to warehouse the thugs in large cell block dorms and give them no jobs.

The apparant reality is that since the 1980s the Chinese labor camps lack the "horror stories" of, say, the N Korean labor camps. The camps are for screwups that are too low on the totem pole to spend time and money to give long criminal sentences to, or those who did things so serious as to merit execution.

You are a petty thief, a banker that collapsed a stock or did fiscal damage, a Chinese variant of the FBI or Army intelligence that really failed to act well to stop a plot, or safeguard intel from a Bradley Manning, off to the labor camps you went. Or the ring of businessmen and government people that made up a cabal to squander The People's money on something like Solyndra. Or moral turpitude cases like Congressman Weiner.

Where they spend a few years in abysmal conditions and are subject to humiliation and re-learning obedience. But when done, they basically have a clean slate to resume life without criminal stigma blocking them from jobs.

Contrast to the US, where petty thieves are rarely sent to jail, they just get a criminal mark that blocks them from getting a job and thus keeping them thieves for life.
Or where we know not a single FBI agent was prosecuted for their screwups prior to 9/11, not a single banker in part responsible for the 2008 Fiscal disaster that cost taxpayers trillions... or any Solyndra exec ever got punished.

Mountain Maven said...

Anyone who pulls the moral equivalence BS with the US is full of it. China has a low crime rate because it is a totalitarian police state. They jail and execute people without due process.

The fact that you fools are talking about incarceration rates on a blog post discussing state regulation of family size points up your fatuousness.

William said...

A better yardstick of a society's decency is not how many people are incarcerated but how many violent felons are left to go free. Charles Taylor had a children's army. These children raped other children and then amputated the arms of the children they raped. Charles Taylor was sentenced to prison, but none of his lieutenants will ever have to suffer such degradation. And, of course, the children he recruited to commit these atrocities cannot be fairly charged with any crime. What a blessing it must be to live in a society where a woman can go to market and meet the man who hacked off her arms after raping her. Only in the free air of such a country can people find their true selves.

John henry said...

Mountain Maven said:

"The fact that you fools are talking about incarceration rates on a blog post discussing state regulation of family size points up your fatuousness."

I would remind you that it was our hostess that brought up the camps in her original post.

Seems like if it is part of her post, it is relevant in the comments.

Even if it does seem to embarrass you for whatever reason.

John Henry

Cedarford said...

Mountain Maven said...
Anyone who pulls the moral equivalence BS with the US is full of it. China has a low crime rate because it is a totalitarian police state. They jail and execute people without due process.

It has more to do with China being mainly monoethnic, and people of that ethnicity being naturally less inclined to violent crime.
Poverty and harsh punishment appear to have less to do with crime than race and ethnicity do, to the anger, horror, and dismay of liberals still full of denial about that grim truth.

Of course, we see a difference in war, when races and ethnicities that are very low-crime, law-abiding in peacetime or moderately so (Mexico) - go nuts and do the worst stuff in wartime (Japan) or in civil unrest (Mexican Civil War, Revolution, Iraq "nation building") or drug cartel wars (Mexico, Columbia).

Belial said...

Was this important policy change implemented by a majority vote of the legislature, the way we do things in advanced Western democracies with a tradition of individual liberty and representative government?

Sam L. said...

Abolishing labor camps. HAH! Tell me another.

Anonymous said...

How many children can a divorced parent who is remarried have? She has a child with her ex, is she allowed to have a second child, her first with her current husband who already has a child with his first wife?

"if one parent was an only child" I'm quite sure, after half a century of one child policy, most if not all parents were the only child.

Anonymous said...

Aren't almost all those of parental age people only children at this point? Maybe a few in small towns in the country that were allowed to have siblings?