Chinese state media has announced the relaxation of the country’s one-child policy.
In future, couples will be allowed to have two children if just one of the parents was an only child.
Currently, both parents must have been sole children to have a second child.
China’s one-child policy was introduced in 1978 to slow population growth.
In further reforms, “re-education through labour” camps for petty offenders will be abolished.
Police panels can sentence offenders to years in camps without a trial. The camps have been blamed for widespread rights abuses by corrupt officials.
The reforms were announced after a key meeting of the ruling Communist party that ended earlier this week. The gathering also decided to reduce “step by step” the number of crimes subject to the death penalty.
Speculation about possible reform has been mounting since November last year. That is when China’s new leadership under Xi Jinping took charge of the Communist party.
Chinese state media said in January that the labour camp system would be abolished. However there were few details and no timetable.
It was not immediately clear Friday how it would be replaced.
But analysts say the abolition of the system could face resistance as local governments profit from products made by camp prisoners and rely on the punishment to keep social order.