China is considering a further relaxation on its "one-child" policy. That shift — which would allow all Chinese couples to have a second child — could come as early as the end of the year, China Business News reported on Wednesday morning.
If the current evaluation of the proposal comes back with a positive recommendation, the two-child policy would be the second time China will have adjusted its long-standing — and controversial — family-planning policy in the last two years.
At the end of 2013, China allowed second children to be born into families in which one parent is an only child. However, only slightly more than a million families applied to have second children in 2014, the first year the eased policy was executed. Nevertheless, the country's Health and Family Planning Commission maintained that the number went along with their expectation.
What the policy planners might not have expected is that the people aren't exactly thrilled by the government's openness to change.
Heavy censorship on Sina Weibo often works to keep the majority of Chinese citizens from knowing something they "shouldn't know." But the report on the new policy opened up an online discussion over the issue with thousands of comments.
Thousands of people have commented on Sina Weibo's poll that asked, "If everybody can have a second child, will you do so?"
More than 60,000 people have voted: About 53% of people appreciate the idea of having second children, and 47% say they wouldn't have a second child. It's not a scientific reflection of all of China, but that's not a huge desire for more kids.
To show how ambivalent Weibo users are, here's a selection of top comments. One thing a lot of them share: concerns about how hard it would be economically to have a second child.
Or even one child, for that matter...
Some see the need for more government action to make it easier for those people who do have second children.
And for some the issue is more one of romance than of public policy.
The 36-year-old one-child policy has many side effects, including promoting a gender imbalance so severe that experts concluded that millions of Chinese men will never be able to get married due to favoring of boys over girls.
There are some supporters of the original one-child policy and the potential changes ahead.
But the overall attitude can best be summed up as "Meh."
Or outright hostility toward the idea of the government mandating how many children a family can have.
Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.
Contact Beimeng Fu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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