China’s ten year one-child policy is finally going to be changed according to Xinhua news agency. The country will also be getting rid of the labor camps that have sparked so much controversy. The nation will be attempting to try to improve human rights for its citizens. This has been months in the making and hints have been dropped several times, causing analysts to see the end of these policies on their way, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a surprise. Officials had previously mentioned that both of the policies were being reviewed.
The labor camps, which were created in the 1950’s and set up like the gulags in the Soviet Union. It allowed certain types of people, what the government called counter-revoluntionists and “class enemies” to be kept and not given a trial. This led to millions of deaths over the years, and currently there are tens of millions detained in these labor camps. There was a slight improvement in the 1970’s when prisoners that were jailed for political and religious reasons were finally released. In 2008, the numbers were at least 160,000 people being held in these labor camps, of which there were 350 of. However, it could be much higher than that.
China is also planning to reduce the number of offenses that will be given the death penalty. China’s policy of one child per family in urban areas may not be well known in other parts of the world. The policy isn’t being done away with the policy however. They are just allowing families to have one more child, if one of the parents was an old child. To countries that see this as a major invasion of privacy and a huge affront to the rights of the citizens, this change in policy doesn’t offer much of comfort. Particularly when the current policy allows for two children, if both parents were an only child. However, many people in China seem happy with the change in policy. A Chinese commuter commented, “it’s a great new policy. Raising three kids is a bit stressful, but two are just perfect.”