Sunday, November 17, 2013

China finally eases one-child policy, says it will close "reeducation academies"

There has been a lot of coverage of China’s one-child policy, and Friday the nation announced that it would ease the policy, allowing a married couple where either child was an only child to have two children.  There are many reports,  typical one being in Salon, by Katie McDonough, here
China also said it would close its “reform prison camps” where people – said to be petty criminals but often dissidents – can be held and ‘reeducated” without trial.  But it’s not clear if some of the people would not be sent to regular prisons.
It does seem strange that China has clung to its one-child policy while other countries, including Japan, struggles with aging populations and low birth rates.  China has its own demographic problems, having strengthened its “filial piety” laws in recent years.

The education camps had been around since the 1950s, and became the most notorious during Mao and the Cultural Revolution.  Communist ideology in the 1960s insisted that every person takes his turn becoming a peasant and experiencing what everyone else does (supposedly).  Authoritarian societies often push the idea that survival of a culture depends on disciplining those who are a little different.  

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