China to Loosen Family Planning Law, End Labor Camps

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - China will ease its family planning policies and abolish a controversial labor camp system, according to a key document issued after a ruling Communist Party meeting, the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

China to Loosen Family Planning Law, End Labor Camps

The government is loosening restrictions on its infamous one-child policy that has been in place for decades, and will allow couples to have two children if one of the parents is an only child.

The law has caused social problems including uncertainty for the elderly who are left with no real safety net because four grandparents and two parents only have one caretaker for old age.

Xinhua also said China will abolish a much-criticised labour camp system.

The "re-education through labour" system allowed police panels to sentence offenders to years in camps without a trial.

The announcements follow a meeting of the party's top leaders earlier this week.

The move comes after this week's meeting of a key decision-making body of the governing Communist Party. Other reforms include the abolition of "re-education through labour" camps.

The decision to do away with the camps was "part of efforts to improve human rights and judicial practices", Xinhua said.

The Third Plenum of the Communist Party under President Xi Jinping, who took power last year, also announced plans for economic reform.

Traditionally reforms are expected at the Third Plenum, because new leaders are seen as having had time to consolidate power.

The one-child policy already exempts rural dwellers and ethnic minorities.

By 2050 more than a quarter of China's population will be over 65 years old and younger generations face an unprecedented burden of care.

China introduced its one-child policy in the 1970s to curb rapid population growth.It has on the whole been strictly enforced, though some exceptions already exist.

In some cities, both parents must be only children in order to be allowed to have a second child. In the countryside, families are allowed to have two children if the first is a girl.

Rights groups say the law has meant some women being coerced into abortions, which Beijing denies. The traditional preference for boys has also created a gender imbalance as some couples opt for sex-selective abortions.

By the end of the decade, demographers say China will have 24 million "leftover men" who, because of China's gender imbalance, will not be able to find a wife.

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