BEIJING — China has again drawn condemnation from international human rights groups after announcing it would relax its controversial one-child policy and “allow” parents up to one year to choose between two children.
According to China’s state newswire Xinhua, the new policy will allow couples in which one member is an only child to have two children, but the parents have only until the first birthday of the second child to decide which one they want to keep.
Chinese officials are mum on what exactly will happen to the children rejected by parents, but claimed that they “wouldn’t need to worry about that, as there are plenty of humane options for discarding excess children.”
The controversial one-child policy, introduced in 1979 to limit China’s rapid population growth, has been progressively relaxed in recent years, but those already weary of the Communist nation’s human rights abuses say that the latest move is a step in the wrong direction.
“The good news is that this means no more forced abortions,” said David Tsang, a professor of Chinese studies at the University of Illinois. “But to force parents to choose one child over another is an abomination of human rights.”
Chinese data show that 13 million abortions are performed each year, for an average rate of 35,000 abortions per day.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping said that the proposed policy has been backed by provincial government officials and would eventually be embraced by parents as well. “The Chinese people gain strength and pride themselves in their ability to make difficult decisions. Hardworking parents will know which child is right for them.”
A spokesperson for the Beijing High People’s Court said that parents would have alternatives to giving up their children that include heavy fines or imprisonment, and that “post-birth abortion” would be used only as a last resort. The spokesperson said that foreign adoption is also a “positive way that couples can obey the new policy.”
“If the new policy is confirmed, I will definitely have a second child,” one 23-year-old woman in Beijing told Newslo. “Now I can have a choice and even enjoy two children for a little while, but also do what is right for my country.”
“When I get married, I would prefer to have two children and keep them both, but I have to be practical,” said another man on the Beijing metro. “My hope is that if I have to give up a child, he will find a happy home in another part of the world.”