Shandong Province, Home of Blind Activist Lawyer, Relaxes One-Child Policy
IMAGE: All Girls Allowed.

 

SHANDONG, ChinaChina’s Shandong province recently relaxed part of its notoriously strict One-Child Policy, reported Chinese media this week. Shandong is now the 19th province to allow couples to have a second child at any time if they both came from one-child families. Chinese news sources and social media have widely praised Shandong’s change, hailing it as a sign of the One-Child Policy’s decline.

 

Before this week, a Shandong husband and wife who were both single children could have a second child only if they waited four years between children. Moreover, mothers under 30 were forbidden to have a second child, and breaking these laws could result in a forced abortion or a crippling fine. Now, these couples can have a second child at any time.

 

Shandong is not the first province to waive the time restrictions on second children for qualified couples. Since 2002, 18 other provinces have adopted the same change. Today, only four provinces still have the requirement, while seven have unclear laws about second children. In some places, Family Planning laws rival the American tax code in complexity.

 

Shandong’s late adoption of this policy change reflects its nationwide reputation for brutal enforcement of the One-Child Policy. Chen Guangcheng, blind human rights activist and lawyer, filed an unprecedented class-action lawsuit in 2005 against the Chinese government for forced abortions and sterilizations in Shandong. More recently, All Girls Allowed reported on a forced abortion there in April, when Family Planning Officials kidnapped a woman and forcibly aborted her second child. This recent change is the first step toward freeing Shandong’s mothers from government persecution.

 

The announcement coincides with another recent development from China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission. This month, the Commission attracted a firestorm of attention by opening an account on China’s microblogging site, Sina Weibo. As soon as the account opened, Chinese netizens flooded the Commission with questions about the One-Child Policy in Shandong and throughout the country. The Commission responded by declaring that the One-Child Policy would continue for the foreseeable future.

 

“For the next 20 years, population will still grow,” said a Weibo post by the Commission. “The issue of balancing population and resources still exists. We will make [the One-Child Policy] adapt to the growth of our economy according to our national population growth strategy.”

 

Yet the celebration swirling around Shandong’s policy change and the flood of criticism posted to the Commission’s new Weibo account highlight the Chinese people’s growing dissatisfaction with the policy. A recent poll by the Guangzhou Public Opinion Research Center revealed that 69% of Chinese couples believe young couples should be able to have two children. According to Sohu, a major Chinese news source, “No matter what [the Commission posts on Weibo], people will always comment about the violence of Family Planning Officials and ask when the policy will be changed.” 

 

Shandong’s slight relaxation of the One-Child Policy and the Family Planning Commission’s politically correct Weibo posts aren’t enough to silence the Chinese people’s complaints. Yet both are steps in the right direction. Now that the senseless time restriction for second children is gone, Shandong couples are a little closer to reclaiming their freedom to have children. And the Weibo account represents a symbolic step toward some semblance of communication between China’s people and government.

 

But Chinese mothers’ battle for justice is far from over. Shandong’s policy change only affects a fraction of the population: married Chinese couples who both come from one-child families. And Shandong’s history of violence shows that stricter regulations produce heavier oppression. China must completely abolish the One-Child Policy for Chinese families to truly receive justice. The Family Planning Commission must use its Weibo account to communicate with citizens, not as yet another source of propaganda. China must listen to its citizens’ outcry against the One-Child Policy and adapt its policies accordingly.

 

At All Girls Allowed, we know that policy alone cannot restore dignity and justice to China’s girls and mothers. “The government must acknowledge each citizen’s intrinsic value as a unique, precious creation of God,”  said Brian Lee, Executive Director of All Girls Allowed. “We urge people everywhere to pray for not only the end of the One-Child Policy, but for China’s leadership to embrace the love of Jesus and choose life for all its citizens.”

 

All Girls Allowed (http://www.allgirlsallowed.org) was founded by Chai Ling in 2010 with a mission to display the love of Jesus by restoring life, value and dignity to girls and mothers in China and to reveal the injustice of the One-Child Policy.  “In Jesus’ Name, Simply Love Her.”







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