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China To Reform Its One-Child Policy, According To Reports

The country has also decided to abolish its use of "re-education" labor camps, state media reported.

Posted on November 15, 2013, at 9:43 a.m. ET

Jessica Hromas / Via Getty Images

China will reportedly be relaxing its one-child policy, and in the future, families will be able to have two children, as long as one parent is an only child. China will also abolish its "re-education through labor" camp system, according to state media reports.

The camps were previously used to punish critics of the Communist Party, and are now used as a way for local officials to deal with people who challenge authority in regards to corruption and land rights. Police panels can sentence people to the camps without trial, and the Xinhua news agency has said that the decision to end the camps was "part of efforts to improve human rights and judicial practices."

Xinhua says that the one-child policy has been "adjusted and improved step by step to promote long-term balanced development of the population in China." The policy was introduced in the '70s to help control accelerated population growth, although some exceptions exist for ethnic minorities and those who live in rural areas. Human rights activists say the policy means some women are forced to have abortions, although the government denies this.

Demographers say that by the end of the decade China will have 24 million "leftover men" who will be unable to find a partner of the opposite sex because of the nation's preference for boys, as some couples opt to abort female fetuses.

The BBC reported that the labor camp reforms have already been tested in various parts of the country.

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