Thursday, October 29, 2015

How Should We View China's Policy Change?


Today, news broke that China has made a change to their family size policy.

Long known for their "one child policy," China relaxed their rules in 2014 to allow married couples to have two children, as long as they were both only-children. Today, in their five year plan, China announced that all couples are now allowed to have two children.

Obviously, this still constitutes a huge human rights violation. No government should be able to restrict family size, and that is especially true when you look at how China has enforced their rules (forced contraception, sterilization, and abortion).

And yet, while human rights groups are speaking out about how this policy shift is "not enough," shouldn't we at least recognize that it is a step in the right direction? 

As Catholics, we have a long tradition of acknowledging small steps as a very positive thing. Individually, we look to ourselves taking tiny, seemingly insignificant, steps toward holiness as an amazing event only possible thanks to God's grace. At a National level, Catholics have long recognized the need to take small steps to correct immoral laws that have become the culturally accepted norm. For example, most Catholics realize that the best path for becoming a pro-life Nation is to take small policy steps forward, rather than only pushing for a complete change and refusing anything else.

It seems to me that Nations would not be able to accept wholesale changes to policies, no matter how immoral those policies are, and would better benefit from small steps toward the goal. It allows for people to slowly wrap their minds around a change to a long-held thought or belief that has become a part of the culture .

So I'm excited about China's shift in their policy on family size. While they are obviously still participating in a giant human rights violation, they are slowly shifting toward a better path, and I think they should be given a nice pat on the back for the movement.

What do you think? 

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