China's reported "change of heart" on family size won't solve its underlying problems – that's according to an activist who's been monitoring Beijing's attempts at population control for a long time.
For decades, China would only allow a couple to have one child; then a few years ago, the regime allowed families two children when it became clear not enough children were being produced to support the older population and fill job vacancies to keep the economy healthy. Now, China is permitting couples to have three children because of the serious demographic shortage.
Reggie Littlejohn, who heads Women's Rights Without Frontiers, explains why she thinks the new policy, on the surface, is deceiving.
"According to a Radio Free Asia report that came out late last year, China aborts about eight million 'extra' births," she begins. "So, an 'extra' birth under the two-child policy would be primarily, I think, single women who are pregnant – which is illegal – and then third children.
"So, under this three-child policy, single women are still going to be forcibly aborted – as well as fourth children."
In addition, Littlejohn predicts the three-child policy won't end abortion of female children in utero.
"I really think that very few people are going to be willing to undergo the expense of having a third child," she shares, "except in the case of wealthier families who already have two girls – and then they say 'Okay, let's have another one … but let's make sure it's a boy and just abort until they get a boy.'"
China, she contends, needs to end its policy of forced abortions and sterilizations – and that includes those that are forced on religious minorities, such as the largely Muslim Uyghurs.