As the census in China shows a dramatic decrease in birth rate from earlier in the decade, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced that Chinese women would be permitted to have up to three children.
China’s infamous one-child policy was introduced in 1979 in an attempt to slow population growth and was only relaxed in 2016 to allow couples to have two children. However, this increase has failed to lead to a sustained upsurge in births in the country.
Now, with the approval of President Xi Jinping, couples will be permitted to have three children. According to Xinhua news agency, the official state-run press agency of the Chinese regime, the new policy will come with “supportive measures, which will be conducive to improving our country’s population structure, fulfilling the country’s strategy of actively coping with an ageing population and maintaining the advantage, endowment of human resources”.
Forced abortion and sterilisation
Previously, families who violated their child quota faced fines and loss of employment, as well as forced abortions and sterilisations.
One person on the microblogging service Weibo said his mother was forced to have invasive contraception after giving birth to a second child.
The blogger said: “The policy is just a cold notice – it doesn’t look at the kind of distress it has caused people. Everyone has become reduced to data, rather than people who deserve to be respected and seen”.
Others recalled the story of Feng Jiamei who was made to undergo a forced abortion at seven months gestation as she could not pay the fine for having a second child.
Wealthy individuals, like filmmaker Zhang Yimou and his wife, are forced to pay fines for violating the policy. In 2014, they were fined $1.2m (£842,850) for violating the country’s one-child policy.
Due to a widespread cultural preference for male children, the policy also led to the mass infanticide and abandonment of female babies.
While the results of the census in China show that the population has grown by 0.53% bringing the population to 1.41 billion, a report from the Australian Strategy Policy Institute (ASPI) revealed a 49% decline in birth rates in Xinjiang, the province where the Uyghur community forms the majority of the population.
The ASPI revelations come at the same time as reports that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is systemically slashing Uyghur birth rates with sterilisations and forced abortions, and fining and detaining people who exceed the permitted number of children.
Such a collapse in birth rates is unprecedented since the UN began collecting global fertility statistics in 1950. According to the ASPI report, the collapse is even more severe than the collapse in birth rates that occurred during the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia in the last century.
Nathan Ruser, an ASPI researcher and co-author of the report, said:
“As far as it’s possible to find out, it is by far the largest drop there is. It makes you realize the scale of these family planning policies and the scale of this crackdown, the scale of societal control that authorities are looking for”.
The ASPI and other researchers have come under attack from the CCP for their investigations and reports.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Restricting the number of children that couples are permitted to have, whether that be one, two or three, is a direct attack on freedom and family life. The enforcement of these restrictions through forced sterilisation and forced abortion makes these restrictions particularly abhorrent”.
“The CCP’s genocidal targeting of the Uyghur population through forced abortion and sterilisation should continue to incur international condemnation. Any company that has any dealings that involve the exploitation of the Uyghurs should cease such business immediately”.