China Vague on Timeline to End One-Child Policy

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China plans to abolish its one child policy eventually, but it might not be as soon as some hope.
 
Mao Qun'an, the spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, stressed Tuesday that family planning is an important and effective policy in China.
 
Nevertheless, he says he believes the country is working toward eliminating the one-child policy.
 
"I can only say that the direction is definite, but as to what kind of specific strategy will be chosen, we have to wait for the experts," Mao said.
 
The news comes just days after the Chinese government announced it is relaxing the rules on the controversial policy.
 
The current rules allow urban couples one child and rural couples two children, if the first child is a girl. But under the new rules, couples can have two children if one of the parents is an only child.
    
Since 1971, the Chinese government has performed about 336 million abortions.
 
Meanwhile, China also announced it's closing down its system of labor camps. The system, known as "re-education through labor," allowed police to imprison government critics for up to four years without a trial.
 
"There have been many methods used recently by this government that are against the rule of law, and do not respect human rights or freedom of speech," Beijing lawyer Pu Zhiqiang said.
 
"But by abolishing the labor camps ... it makes it much harder for the police to put these people they clamp down on into labor camps," he said. "This is progress."

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