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VOA English Newscast: 1600 UTC October 29, 2015

FILE - China has announced changes to existing laws that restricted families to one child.

FILE - China has announced changes to existing laws that restricted families to one child.

From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m Ira Mellman.

China approves a major revision to its “one child” policy.

China has ended its long-standing one child policy and will now allow all couples to have two children.

The plan was unveiled Thursday following high-level closed-door political meetings this week in Beijing. Analysts said a two-child policy, while a welcome move, will do little to help lift the country's declining birth rate or shrinking workforce.

VOA's Bill Ide in Beijing says the two-child policy is a further relaxation, after China, in late 2013, allowed couples, one of whom has no siblings, to have a second child.

"China has been inching toward this for quite some time now. In rural areas, families are allowed to have two children, and just a few years ago, in 2013, the government also allowed couples, who if one of the couples was a single child, that they could have a second child. So China has gradually been easing this policy, but it is a big change, overall.”

The restrictions have led to an imbalanced sex ratio because of a traditional preference for boys. Studies say there are 117 boys for every 100 girls in China.

China's Defense Ministry said it will voice its "solemn position" to the United States when top navy officials from both countries hold an hour-long video teleconference Thursday to discuss tensions in the South China Sea and naval ties.

Earlier this week, Washington took its biggest step to date to challenge China's claims in the South China Sea, sailing a U.S. navy warship within a 12 nautical mile zone of one of the man-made islands.

This is VOA.


Words in This Newscast

revision – n. change

long-standing – adj. lasting or existing for a long time

allow – v. to permit or let

couples – n. two people who are married or have a serious relationship

unveiled – v. to release, declare or announce

closed-door – adj. done in secret or in private

analysts – n. observers or experts

further – adv. additional or greater

relaxation – n. easing

siblings – n. brothers or sisters

inching – v. moving slowly

imbalanced – n. a condition when different things are not represented in equal amounts

ratio – n. the relationship the exists between the size or number of things

preference – n. a feeling of liking one person or thing more than another

solemn – adv. very serious or sad

teleconference – n. the use of telephones and video equipment to have a meeting with people who are in different places

challenge – v. to test or question

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