Opinion / From the Readers

Result of good move awaited

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-06 08:28

The family planning policy was modified in November allowing a couple to have a second child if the husband or wife (or both) was the only offspring of his/her parents. Some provinces and regions have already implemented the new policy, and others will start doing so soon.

The country followed the strict family planning policy, which allowed a majority of couples (especially in urban areas) to have only one child, for 30 years. Like their counterparts in many other Asian countries, Chinese people have had a preference for sons, which, combined with the strict family planning policy, was instrumental in creating an imbalanced gender ratio in the country. Therefore, the change in the family planning policy is deemed as a tool to correct the imbalanced gender ratio.

This small step is expected to fulfill a big goal. But that seems unlikely. When some couples eligible to have two children have a daughter as the first child, they are forced by their family members to have a son as the second child. Such a practice will certainly not help correct the imbalanced gender ratio.

The intention of the new policy is no doubt good. The new policy may help the country to gradually solve many problems, including the low birth rate and an aging society. But it will not change the lifestyle that most Chinese people have become used to. For that to happen, Chinese people have to realize that raising children is a great responsibility rather than only catering to other people's preference for sons.

CHEN ZHE, via e-mail

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