China to Ease One-Child Policy

    In this Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 photo, a woman holds her child as villagers gather outside her house on a hill near new housing blocks for rural citizens, in Qiyan in China's Shaanxi province. Originally started as a disaster resettlement in 2010, Qiyan Community has since been swept into China’s massive push to move millions of country folk into more urban settings to improve access to services and to shift away from a factory-based economy. But for most families, there is no work in Qiyan, meaning that most of the region’s working-age people must still travel elsewhere for jobs. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Andy Wong/AP

    After years of criticism from Western human rights groups, China’s Communist Party announced Friday that it plans to relax the country’s one-child policy, now allowing Chinese couples to have two children. The controversial law was instated in the 1970s to control China’s enormous population, but was sometimes brutally enforced and resulted in a wide gender gap in Chinese society. The Party also said it would abolish its “re-education through labor” program, where people can be sentenced without trial to years in labor camps—another institution hated by the Chinese people and criticized by human rights groups. The Third Plenium, a large meeting of the Communist Party, also made plans to reduce “step by step” the number of crimes subject to the death penalty.

    Read it at Agence France-Presse