China abandons one-child policy for parents bereaved by earthquake

China is relaxing its one-child policy for victims of the earthquake that struck the country on 12 May.

Couples whose only child was killed or badly injured can get a certificate allowing them to have another child, the Chengdu Population and Family Planning Committee, which oversees the policy in the capital of Sichuan province, said. The quake was extra painful for some because it killed their only child. The destruction of almost 7,000 classrooms in a school day left China heartbroken.

The earthquake killed more than 65,000, and with more than 23,000 missing the toll is expected to rise. Officials say they are unable to estimate the number of children killed. But with so many broken families asking questions, the committee is clarifying existing one-child policy guidelines to make them specific to quake victims.

Chen Xueyun is one of them. His son, Weixi, eight, was killed when their apartment in Qingchuan collapsed. "If people are still sad and depressed, it's impossible to talk about another baby. But in the future, it could be quite helpful for them," Mr Chen said.

The policy will affect the cities of Chengdu, with a population of 10 million, Dujiangyan and Pengzhou, all in Sichuan province.