One-child Policy to be Relaxed

December 9, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. relax [ri-LAKS] (v.) – to make rules less strict
Example: Citizens usually appreciate it when strict policies are relaxed.

2. plenum [PLEE-nuh m, PLEN-uh m] (n.) – an assembly with every member present, usually for making laws
Example: During the plenum, the committee decided to abolish the policy.

3. demographer [dih-MOG-ruh-fer] (n.) – a person who studies human population numbers
Example: The demographer noted the low birth rate in his country.

4. phase [feyz] (n.) –  a stage or step in a process
Example: The first phase after a policy change is usually the tricky one.

5. petty crime [PET-ee krahym] (n.) – minor unlawful acts like shoplifting and traffic violations
Example: Chinese citizens who commit petty crimes are sent to forced labor camps.


Read the text below.
After years of lobbying by the Chinese, the Communist Party has finally agreed to relax the one-child policy.

This decision was announced in a resolution of the plenum that ended last November 12. Explaining the resolution, Communist Party chief Xi Jinping said that reforms were the only way to unify the people and to achieve sustainable economic and social development.

According to a demographer named Chen Wei, China relaxed the policy because of low birth rate in the country. Thus, labor force is directly affected. Aside from the problem with few workers, there is also a huge difference in the number of newborn boys and girls.

The reform will be carried out in phases. It will probably start in provinces with low birth rates, such as those in the eastern part of the country.

As a start, families with a parent who is a single child are now allowed to have a second child. Further relaxation to allow all couples to freely have a second child may occur after 2020.

Currently, rural residents whose firstborns are girls are already allowed to have a second child. Urban residents born in the 1980s and 1990s are also allowed to have a second child, given that both parents have no siblings. Therefore, these changes are expected to greatly affect urban residents born in the 1970s, the time when the one-child policy was first implemented.

Along with this policy change, the Communist Party also announced the removal of the punishment policy that allows sending prisoners of petty crimes to forced labor.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that the one-child policy in China should be relaxed? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of the one-child policy? Please explain briefly.

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, why is a low birth rate bad for a country?
·         What do you think can be done to increase a country’s birth rate? Please explain.


December 9, 2013