November 15, 2013
China has pledged to loosen its one-child policy and end a controversial
“re-education through labour” programme, state media reported on
Friday, days after the conclusion of a meeting of top Communist party
leaders in Beijing.
Under the new policy, couples in which one member is an only child
will be allowed to have two children, according to China’s state
newswire Xinhua; currently, couples can only have two children if both
members are only children themselves.
China will also end its controversial re-education through labour
programme, a system of administrative, extralegal detentions which can
send people to prison for four years without conviction. Activists and
human rights groups have long criticised the system as giving
authorities the power to detain critics and opponents without due
process. Details of the two policy shifts and timelines for their
implementation are still unclear.