The following comes from an October 29 Wall Street Journal article by Laurie Burkitt:
China will abandon its one-child policy, perhaps the most notorious of the Communist Party’s intrusions into Chinese lives, amid a looming demographic crunch that threatens the long-term health of the world’s second-largest economy.
All Chinese couples will be allowed to have two children, Chinese official media said, showing Beijing isn’t ready to totally relinquish its grip on the homes and bedrooms of its people. Demographers also warn that the move may be too little too late, as China already faces a declining, graying population without the workers it needs for its vast economy.
The meeting and the decision to drop the one-child policy took place against a backdrop of uncertainty for China’s leaders.
Manufacturing and infrastructure spending, which drove three decades of astonishing growth, no longer pack the same punch. Labor costs are already rising amid higher expectations from Chinese workers.
Beijing faces the difficult task of nurturing long-term growth, including a difficult shift to depend more on consumer spending and services. An aging population with fewer young people could drain resources and make that shift harder.
The policy has caused social disruption as well. Due to social pressure to have boys, about 116 boys were born for every 100 girls in China last year, according to official media, compared with the World Health Organization’s natural rate of around 105 to 100. It has also led to horror stories such as local officials who force women into abortions to make population targets.