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New family planning policy changes lives

03-12-2014 21:06 BJT Special Report: 2014 NPC & CPPCC Sessions |

For more than thirty years in China, the One-Child Policy has aimed to control the country’s population growth. But a new amendment will now allow couples to have a second child if one of the parents is an only child. Our senior reporter Han Bin talked with one Beijing couple about their dreams of adding to their family.

Growing up in China's one-child families. For most children and their parents, the major change to the family planning policy could dramatically alter their lives. For Cao Yimeng and Zhang Qing, looking after their only child and their parents, could have been their whole life. A second kid had never been an option.

"I've wanted a second child for a long time, but it seemed too difficult in the past. I grew up in a big family. But today’s child has no sibling or companion to play with," said Cao Yimeng, Beijing resident.

Cao Yimeng's son Dize is now 7 years old. He has an iPad to play with, but thinks a younger brother would be even better. Dize says sometimes he feels lonely.

That's why Zhang Qing wants a second child. She says it would make her a better mom. The expense would be huge, but Zhang Qing says she would gain something money can't buy.

"It's a really hard job to raise a child, but you will feel the happiness with children around you in your old age," said Zhang Qing, Beijing resident.

China's one child policy was initially introduced in the late 1970s to control slow population growth. But the policy has been highly controversial and led to problems like forced abortions and gender imbalance. Some forty years on, the new 2nd child policy is to address the shrinking labor force and an aging population.

Professor Du Peng's research indicates some 80 percent of the one child families favor two children. The policy change could result in 2 million newborns each year.

"The new policy is only a transition for allowing every family to have two kids, to further reduce social problems and help families realizing their sibling dreams," said Du Peng, population and development studies, Renmin University.

Born in the mid-70s, Cao Yimeng learned how to get along with others from childhood. He has three sisters and one brother. He says Dize's experience is very different from the generations' before him.

"I hope my son could grow up in a childhood just like mine. I want him to have a happy childhood with a companion," said Cao Yimeng.

Cao Yimeng and Zhang Qing are one of many couples considering having another child. The new policy means for families like theirs, sibling dreams can become a reality that won't fade away.

Editor:James |Source:

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