In what appears to be a New Year's gift to its citizens, China has finally come up with a resolution for the controversial one-child policy, with a new law allowing couples to have two children. However, the law comes with a condition that either parent must be an only child.
This will be the first major relaxation of the restrictive and highly talked about national birth planning policy in the country.
The state-run Xinhua News agency reported that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed the resolution through a vote at its bi-monthly session, which closed on Saturday.
The Chinese news outlet said that the national lawmaking body has passed the onus of implementing the new policy to the provincial people's congresses and their standing committees.
The notorious one-child policy that was implemented around 1980, limited most couples to have only one child in the country. The law until hitherto, allowed a second child only if neither parents had siblings or if the first child born to a couple in a rural area is a girl.
Now the law goes one step ahead in allowing a second child even if one of the parents is the only child of his/her family. Although the policy comes as a bit of a respite in the restrictive policy, it might still prove to be controversial, for it might still be perceived as a policy that severely dips into prejudice and arbitrary rulings in the communist nation.
China has always argued that their one-child policy has kept their population growth in check and has helped accelerate the rapid economic and infra-structural growth that the nation has witnessed over the last decades, building itself into the second largest economy of the world.
While the justification might hold some truth, the policy has always proved very infamous with many instances where the people have been meted out with outrageous treatment while implementing the law. A large public outrage was seen last year when a photo appeared online of a woman who was forced to abort a child 7 months into her pregnancy.
The policy has now solicited great demographic problems with the rapid increase in the elderly population while the population of young people has shrunk swiftly. The sex ratio between male and female is hanging in great imbalance with 115 boys for every 100 girls.