China abolishes one-child policy after decades

China's ruling Communist Party has decided to abolish the country's one-child policy and allow all couples to have two children.

China has lifted its one-child policy that's been in place since 1980

China has lifted its one-child policy that's been in place since 1980 Image by Micah Sittig / CC BY 2.0

In recent years the country has moved towards easing restrictions that were introduced in 1980 as a way to curb the population and limit demands for water and other resources. The decision removes all remaining restrictions that limited some couples to having only one child, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The policy had been relaxed officially in some provinces two years ago as sociologists and demographers warned about China's aging population, rising social costs, and the need for workers. Under the controversial policy couples could face fines, arrest and even forced abortions. It's estimated that the one-child policy prevented around 400m births.

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