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CAIXINMEDIA

How One-Child China Can Become Three-Child China

Social policy and mentality both must change for China to face its looming demographic crisis. Beijing's recent decision to loosen its one-child policy is just a start.

Kids playing in Guizhou in southwestern China
Kids playing in Guizhou in southwestern China
Liang Jianzhang, Huang Wenzheng and He Yafu

The recent third plenary session of the Chinese Communist Party has included a major break from China’s one-child policy that has long limited the number of children in each family. From now on when at least one parent of a couple is an only child, they will be allowed to have two children. Chinese leaders apparently now understand how the nation's low birthrate is a real threat to China's economy and society.

According to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, China currently has a birthrate of 1.2 children per woman. Even if the control over births is fully liberalized, birthrate will still not reach the 2.2 level that is required to maintain the so-called "population replacement" level.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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