China announced Friday it will put an end to its 30 year-long one-child policy in a bid to adjust the population shift, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Chinese demographer He Yafu warned that if the one-child policy continues, it will threaten to harm stability as the elderly population segment in China is growing at a faster rate than ever before.
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The policy will be slightly relaxed so that couples will be allowed to have two children if one of the parents was an only child, Xinhua reported. Currently, both parents must be sole children to be eligible for a second child.
"The change of one child policy and the labor camp system shows China's new leaders made a resolute decision to reform this time, which is better than the last group of leaders," , according the state media agency Xin Hua, who referred also to the announcement that China will abolish penal colonies use for political prisoners among others.
"The birth rate of most Chinese provinces, especially in coastal provinces, is actually very low," He said. "Many couples don't want to give birth to a second child because of the financial burden."
As China's economy continues to boom, experts say the policy is causing the country to lose its competitive edge by not providing enough young future workers and leaving aging parents with fewer children to care for them.
In July, China introduced a new law that requires offspring of parents older than 60 to visit their parents "frequently" and make sure they are provided for financially.
According to the report, China will also abolish the "reeducation through labor" system as part of a major effort to protect human rights.