China Eases One-Child Policy

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A report in London's Financial Times confirmed that China is phasing out its one-child policy. The change will take place gradually, beginning in 2000, and is expected to take several years to implement. Initial estimates were that it would be accomplished sometime in 2003, however nothing specific has been noted to this time (July 2004) other than closer restrictions on dossier acceptance.

For the past 20 years, "encouraging" Chinese couples to limit the size of their families to one child has been employed as a means of controlling that country's soaring population growth.

Restrictions on adoption by Chinese couples with existing children are being eased as well, provisions for which first appeared in the amended Adoption Law that went into effect April 1, 1999.

Impact on Adoption

These changes are expected to affect the face of international adoption as we know it, as the number of children in Chinese orphanages could drop dramatically over the next 3-5 years. It should be noted that adoptees from China are estimated to represent somewhere between one-quarter to one-third of the worldwide total of out-of-country placements.

Adoptions from China soared from 201 in 1989 to 5,053 in 2002 in this country alone, and the one-child policy certainly has to be considered a major factor in this enormous jump.

Other Measures Also Affected

Measures such as enforced birth control, criminal penalties, and other means used to enforce the policy will also be scrapped.

Family planning will continue to be strongly encouraged by the Chinese government, and many alternative forms of contraception will be made available. Abortion also remains a legal alternative.

Additional Resources
  • China Centre of Adoption Affairs - The only institution in China charged with the responsibility for foreign-related adoption work. (You do not need to download the Chinese character set to read the English version.)
  • Family Planning in China - from TIME magazine, a look at what has gone before.
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