“Easing” the one-child policy (for some) and the ongoing typhoon response issue

20 Nov

Some major news in China in the past week include the easing of the one-child policy for urban couples, and the country’s response to the aftermath of the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines.

The one-child policy is widely known but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Rural couples and ethnic minorities can have more than one child, with the latter possibly having no limits at all. Meanwhile urban couples in many cities are able to have a second child if both parents were single children, that is they have no siblings. This latter stipulation has been relaxed, rather than the general rule, so that urban couples can now legally have two children if only one parent was a single child. However, there might not be a baby boom due to factors like the high cost of living in cities, though one would think that baby product companies must have been salivating at the thought.

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, leveling towns and leaving at least 3,000 dead. Major countries and the EU offered help immediately in the form of money, supplies and personnel. However China’s initial offer was a paltry $200,000, in comparison to several millions offered by the likes of US and Japan. This caused a lot of anger and ridicule around the world, but China later upped its aid to a much more respectable $1.6 million in supplies as well as personnel and even its hospital ship. However even this has not satisfied some observers, since it is still less than what countries like the US are offering. It seems that some media outlets and commentators have become a bit overzealous in their China criticisms, to the point of focusing more on China’s response than the actual tragedy and relief efforts in general, but the Financial Times has a more reasonable story, which focuses more on China’s limitations in terms of hardware, training and resources.

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