China’s reform pledges: the main points

China’s reform pledges: the main points

BEIJING - China's Communist Party leaders this week emerged from a closed-door meeting in Beijing bearing a raft of promises on issues from the controversial one-child policy to the scope of the death penalty.

The gathering, known as the Third Plenum, has historically been the venue for major reform announcements, and comes one year after new leaders under General Secretary Xi Jinping took charge of the ruling party.

Analysts have been split on the question of whether China's new president will usher in an era of reform or seek to maintain the status quo.

Some of the proposed policy changes released in texts by the official Xinhua news agency and the government-run China Daily appear significant, although experts warn that their importance will depend on how they are implemented.

Below is a look at some of the major pledges:

- Easing the one-child policy. China's family planning law currently restricts most parents to one child, with exceptions including some rural families whose first child is a girl, ethnic minorities, and couples who are both only children.

Going forward, couples where only one parent is an only child will be allowed to have two offspring.

- Abolishing the re-education through labour system. Under the scheme, known as "laojiao" and introduced in 1957, police panels can sentence offenders to up to four years in camps without a trial.

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