One-child policy

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The one-child policy (simplified Chinese: 计划生育政策; traditional Chinese: 計劃生育政策; pinyin: jìhuà shēngyù zhèngcèl=policy of birth planning) refers to the one-child limitation on most families in the population control policy of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The Chinese government refers to it under the official translation of family planning policy.[1] It officially restricts the number of children married urban couples can have to one, although it allows exemptions for several cases, including rural couples, ethnic minorities, and parents without any siblings themselves.[2] A spokesperson of the Committee on the One-Child Policy has said that approximately 35.9% of China's population is currently subject to the one-child restriction.[3] The Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau are completely exempted from the policy.

The policy was introduced in 1978 and initially applied to first-born children in 1979. It was created by the Chinese government to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in China,[4] and authorities claim that the policy has prevented more than 250 million births from its implementation to 2000.[2] The policy is controversial both within and outside China because of the manner in which the policy has been implemented, and because of concerns about negative social consequences.[5] The policy has been implicated in an increase in forced abortions,[6] female infanticide, and underreporting[7] of female births, and has been suggested as a possible cause behind China's gender imbalance. Nonetheless, a 2008 survey undertaken by the Pew Research Center reported that 76% of the Chinese population supports the policy.[8]

The policy is enforced at the provincial level through fines that are imposed based on the income of the family and other factors. Population and Family Planning Commissions (Chinese: 计划生育委员会) exist at every level of government to raise awareness about the issue and carry out registration and inspection work. Despite this policy, there are still many citizens that continue to have more than one child.[9]

In 2008, China's National Population and Family Planning Commission said that the policy will remain in place for at least another decade.[10] In 2010 it was announced that the majority of the citizens first subject to the policy are no longer of reproductive age and it has been speculated that many citizens simply disregard or violate the policy in more recent years. In response, the deputy director of the Commission stated that the policy would remain unaltered until at least 2015.[11]

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