The one-child policy (simplified Chinese: 计划生育政策; traditional Chinese: 計劃生育政策; pinyin: jìhuà shēngyù zhèngcè; literally "policy of birth planning") is the one-child limitation in the population control policy of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The Chinese government refers to it under the official translation of family planning policy. It officially restricts married, urban couples to having only one child, while allowing exemptions for several cases, including rural couples, ethnic minorities, and parents without any siblings themselves. A spokesperson of the Committee on the One-Child Policy has said that approximately 35.9% of China's population is currently subject to the one-child restriction. The Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau are completely exempt from the policy. Also exempt from this law are foreigners living in China.
This policy was introduced in 1978 and initially applied to first-born children in the year of 1979. It was created by the Chinese government to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in China, and authorities claim that the policy has prevented between 250 and 300 million births from its implementation until 2000, and 400 million births from 1979 to 2011. The policy is controversial both within and outside China because of the manner in which the policy has been implemented, and because of concerns about negative social consequences. The policy has been implicated in an increase in forced abortions, female infanticide, and underreporting of female births, and has been suggested as a possible cause behind China's gender imbalance. Nonetheless, a 2008 survey undertaken by the Pew Research Center reported that 76% of the Chinese population supports the policy.
The policy is enforced at the provincial level through fines that are imposed based on the income of the family and other factors. Population and Family Planning Commissions (Chinese: 计划生育委员会; pinyin: Jìhuà Shēngyù Wěiyuánhuì) exist at every level of government to raise awareness about the issue and carry out registration and inspection work. Despite this policy, there are still many citizens that continue to have more than one child.
In 2008, China's National Population and Family Planning Commission said that the policy will remain in place for at least another decade. In 2010, it was announced that the majority of the citizens initially subject to the policy are no longer of reproductive age and it has been speculated that many citizens simply disregard or violate the policy in more recent years. The deputy director of the Commission stated that the policy would remain unaltered until at least 2015. In March 2011, the Chinese government reviewed the policy and expressed considerations to allow for couples to have a second child.