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10/30/2015

ChinasTwoChildPolicyDoesntMeanChineseCouplesWillHaveTwoKids|ForeignPolicy

Chinas Two-Child Policy Doesnt Mean


Chinese Couples Will Have Two Kids
BY SIOBHN O'GRADY

OCTOBER 29, 2015 - 3:28 PM

SIOBHAN.OGRADY

@SIOBHAN_OGRADY
For decades, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has controlled citizens family planning through strict
policies that prevent most urban couples from having more than one child.

But as Beijing gradually relaxed the decades-old law, many Chinese, including peasants, minorities, and
those who are wealthy or well-connected enough to afford fines, among others, have already found their
way around the one-child policy. And in the case of high-ranking officials and the political elite, the
government has a habit of looking the other way.
That means that Thursdays announcement that the law will be officially changed to a two-child policy
will have the greatest impact on those who couldnt wriggle through earlier loopholes. But the new policy
may not actually reduce Beijings level of involvement in family planning.
Chinas controversial family laws were put in place in the 1970s amid fears the rapidly growing population
would gobble up the countrys limited resources, and the one-child policy was officially adoptedin 1979.
Contraceptives were made widely available and those who broke the rules even the countrys poorest
were heavily fined. Fines were increased over time, from hundreds of dollars in the policys early years to
upwards of $150,000 today.

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10/30/2015

ChinasTwoChildPolicyDoesntMeanChineseCouplesWillHaveTwoKids|ForeignPolicy

The laws side effects quickly became apparent, and not just to critics in the West. Cultural preferences for
boys meant that girls born as first children were sometimes abandoned, killed, or kept secret so the family
could have a legal son. Couples were forced to undergo sterilization or abort their second child, creating
the worst man-made gender gap in the world. Last year, roughly 115 boys were born for every 100 girls.
Over time, the rules were relaxed again and again: first for peasants, who in the 1980s were allowed to try
for a second child if their first was a girl or disabled, and later for some urban families in which the parents
themselves were both single children. In 2013, families in which just one parent was a single child were
granted the same permission.
Both in its inception, and now in its overhaul, the family-planning policy has sought to come to grips with
demographics. In the 1970s, party leaders wanted to save natural resources and food. Today, though,
China needs a fresh generation to replenish its currently massive workforce. After the countrys economic
breakdown this summer, there are increasing fears that Chinas artificially small younger generation is
simply not big enough to create enough new workers to replace the old. The natural replacement rate to
maintain a stable population is widely considered to be 2.1 children per one woman, but thanks in large
part to exceptions, Chinas rate in 2013 was 1.7.
Last year, Chinas population reached 1.37 billion, but it is graying: more than 10 percent are older than 65.
Other burgeoning countries have much younger and much more balanced populations. In Nigeria,
Africas most populous country, only 3 percent of the population are seniors.
This year, Chinas National State Population and Family Planning Commission predicted that by 2020, the
number of men of marrying age will outnumber their female counterparts by at least 30 million. And
according to Chinese officials, that has dramatically increased the rate of divorce, especially in urban
areas a trend attributed in part to the more comfortable role women now hold in the countrys difficult
marriage market.

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ChinasTwoChildPolicyDoesntMeanChineseCouplesWillHaveTwoKids|ForeignPolicy

Thursdays move, which was announced at the close of the Fifth Plenum a party conference that
charted Chinas social and economic path for the rest of the decade doesnt mean the party is beating a
retreat from meddling in the personal affairs of its citizens. But it will, on paper at least, offer urban
families who want a second child a chance to have one.
In reality, given Chinas rising cost of living, economics may trump the Partys decrees. With Chinas rising
cost of living, to have a second child may strain a family budget. Raising a child in China now costs some
$3,745 a year roughly half the countrys per-capita GDP.
In 2014, less than 3 percent of the 11 million couples eligible to have a second child chose to apply for
permission.
And human rights watchdogs, including Amnesty International, warned Thursday that the two-child
policy poses many of the same concerns as its predecessor did. Amnestys China researcher, William Nee,
condemned the new policy, which still restricts couples from having three children or more, as invasive
and punitive controls over peoples decisions to plan families and have children.
Couples that have two children could still be subjected to coercive and intrusive forms of contraception,
and even forced abortions which amount to torture, Nee said in a statement Thursday.
Photo credit:Getty Images

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ChinasTwoChildPolicyDoesntMeanChineseCouplesWillHaveTwoKids|ForeignPolicy

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Gangs Dont Forgive: The Family


Casualties of Central Americas Drug Wars
BY SIOBHN O'GRADY

OCTOBER 28, 2015 - 5:26 PM

SIOBHAN.OGRADY

@SIOBHAN_OGRADY
They have been raped and beaten with baseball bats, and they are fleeing criminal gangs, drug cartels, and
violent police. But with the worlds eyes on the Syrian refugee crisis, women and children running from
conflict in another of the worlds most dangerous regions have often been left to fend for themselves or are
treated like criminals.

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ChinasTwoChildPolicyDoesntMeanChineseCouplesWillHaveTwoKids|ForeignPolicy

In 2014 alone, more than 66,000 unaccompanied children arrived in the United States after fleeing their
homes in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and parts of Mexico. In addition to minors who traveled
alone, more than 66,000 mothers arrived with their children, and a new United Nations report released
Wednesday documents the dangers they fled at home and the ones they encountered en route to the
United States.
Many who should qualify for asylum are instead detained, and they fear deportation back to the
dangerous situations they risked their lives to escape. Of the more than 160 women interviewed for
Wednesdays report, every single one claimed she had fled to seek the protection her government was
unable to provide. But they are not staying in refugee camps or makeshift shelters. Instead, 94 percent of
those interviewed were in American detention centers when they met with U.N. officials, and more than
40 percent had been detained for more than three months.
The region most of them left behind is known as the Northern Triangle of Central America, where the drug
trade, gangs, and a lack of government oversight have created a deadly cocktail of persistent violence and
near-total impunity. In many areas, criminal gangs have more control than the government; in others,
police and government officials work alongside the gangs to extort local populations out of what little they
have. Increasingly desperate, and often suffering from rampant gender-based violence, many women and
children are forced to flee north to the United States, where they expect to qualify for asylum. But a
backlog of asylum applications has dampened their chances for freedom and protection: There were less
than 25,000 asylum applications from the Northern Triangle and Mexico in 2013 and at least40,000 the
following year.

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The U.N. says countries overwhelmed by those asylum-seekers are too focused on border security, rather
than on protecting refugees. In Wednesdays report, the refugee agency called on governments to protect
the legal right to asylum and refrain from using detention centers as holding pens for those who have
already escaped unspeakable violence at home. In the United States, a hard-line stance on immigration
has become almost a default setting in the Republican Party during the preliminary months of the
presidential campaign. But the women huddled in American detention centers arent seeking to steal
anyones job but rather to reclaim their own lives.
The violence these women fled at home often followed them as they sought safety further north. A
number of women told U.N. officials that they preemptively took contraceptives before setting out
because they expected they could be raped en route. Sure enough, many were raped or otherwise
physically abused by the very men they paid to take them to safety.
One woman, identified by the U.N. only as Norma, who was beingheld in a detention center in the United
States, said that she had no choice but to flee after she was repeatedly targeted by a local gang. Her
husband is a police officer, and in 2014, four local gang members kidnapped her and brought her to a
cemetery, where three of them raped her. They took their turns. They tied me by the hands, she said.
They stuffed my mouth so I would not scream. When they were done, she was thrown in the trash.
Fearing for her life, Norma moved to another town in El Salvador, but threats against her family did not let
up. She decided to forget about thecriminal complaint and instead paid a coyote, or human smuggler, to
help her get to the United States by way of Mexico.
Her story is not exceptional.
Nearly 70 percent of the interviewees came to the United States as a last resort after they sought refuge in
new towns or cities back home and still felt their lives were under threat. The vast majority fled
neighborhoods that were completely controlled by criminal gangs, and 100 percent who reported rapes
and other attacks said police and government officials in their home countries failed to respond with
adequate protection.

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ChinasTwoChildPolicyDoesntMeanChineseCouplesWillHaveTwoKids|ForeignPolicy

Despite increased border control, the women and children most at risk continue to flee toward the United
States, and the number who arrived in fiscal year 2015 marked the second-largest number of family
arrivals in American history. They arent just fleeing north: Mexico,Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, and
Nicaragua have seen asylum applications increase more than 13-fold since 2008.
And arrival isnt the end of the journey. Victims who remain in detention, like Norma, still fear they will be
sent back to relive the very nightmares they ran from.
Gangs dont forgive, she said. Sometimes, I wake up and think it was just a nightmare, but then I feel
the pain and remember it was not.
Photo credit: UNHCR

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HOLLOW VENGEANCE

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ChinasTwoChildPolicyDoesntMeanChineseCouplesWillHaveTwoKids|ForeignPolicy

THE IMPERFECT TRIAL OF CONGOS TERMINATOR

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