The Communist Party’s ‘tweaks’ will not prevent forced abortions or demographic disaster, critics contend.
BY CELESTE MCGOVERN 11/25/2013 Comments (2)
BEIJING — China is graying rapidly: By 2050, one-third of the country will be aged 60 years or older, and, before then, each Chinese worker will have to support two parents and four grandparents — one result of the official policy that, since 1979, has forbidden most Chinese couples from having more than one child and had seen hundreds of millions of women forcibly aborted and sterilized.
Another negative result is gender imbalance: There are at least 37 million more males in China than females, and, by 2020, the government expects to have at least 40 million men of marriageable age with no women to marry.
These dire demographics, according to analysts, are the most likely reason behind proposed revisions of the one-child policy that came out of the Chinese Communist Party leaders’ recent conclave on Nov. 15. The extensive reform package includes a small measure to extend the right to have a second child to couples who are both only children themselves.
While mainstream media, including The Wall Street Journal, hailed the policy change as “the most significant adjustment in a policy that has defined Chinese family life for more than three decades,” human-rights activists and demographic experts are calling it “too little, too late” for a country whose human-rights abuses have led it on the path of steep demographic decline.