The announcement about the abolition of the ban on having more than a child had stimulated the appetites of a billion people. The perspective of finally widening families was seen as a sign of the times. But before the crucial moment when they will be able to “try again”, they must wait a bit longer. Officials of the Planning Commission in Beijing, in fact, have “warned” Chinese couples that the law which imposes to have only one child will remain in force until March 2016, although the abolition was already decided by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
In recent years, the effects of the one-child policy began to have a serious impact on the demography and economy of the country: working-age population has shrunk dramatically for the first time in twenty years, while it is expected that the elderly population will increase at a continuous rhythm. A process which would not allow the implementation of Xi Jiping’s plans for sustainable growth. The decision is part of a five-year plan designed to create a system of social and economic reforms to overcome the risk of stagnation.
In March 2016 he will meet the National People’s Assembly, the legislative body of the Chinese system, which will have to ratify the decision. According to the decision of the Central Committee, after the abolition of the law, Chinese couples will be able to have two children without incurring into penances, which are generally heavy fines and, for public employees, the loss of their jobs.
The limit of only one child per couple was introduced in 1962 in certain areas, after the boom of the population in urban areas had greatly worried the Communist Party. In 1979, came into effect the one-child policy, supported since 1980: the plan was for urban couples to be able to have only one child, while rural couples two. The system was further developed with the founding of the “State Commission for Family Planning”, to coordinate different support activities and diversification of politics.
According to Chinese authorities the only-child law has prevented the birth of 400 thousand children in a country whose population exceeds 1.3 billion people, transforming it into the world’s most populous country. For years, however, experts have been claiming that the law is counterproductive and that Chinese society is going through a dangerous process of rapid aging. Some scholars have argued that one of the problems with easing state control over the private lives of the couples is that it would leave about 500 thousand bureaucrats jobless, that is, those who in recent years have ensured birth control throughout China.
Paraphrasing a sparkling and light-hearted comedy which meant to demolish the facade of respectability and appearances characteristic to the British society of the time – staged continuously in Westland from 1971 to 1987 with the record of 6761 consecutive performances (“No Sex Please, We’re British”) – I would say: “No sex please, we are Chinese.” At least till 2016.