China is to end it's decades-long one-child policy, allowing all couples across the country to have two children. In this video guide, IBTimes UK explains why China enacted a one-child policy in the first place and why after almost 40 years the country is now abandoning it.

China is the most-populated nation on the planet, with 1.357bn inhabitants, roughly 20% of the world's population. In the 1950s the country's population was growing by 1.9% every year, a drastic increase which the government realised would in the long term be unsustainable.

In 1979 the country took the radical option of implementing a one-child policy in order to slow the birth rate. Those who adopted the policy were rewarded with free education and healthcare for their offspring, but those who violated the policy were punished, faced fines, imprisonment and even forced abortions.

The drastic measures successfully slowed China's population explosion, with growth levels now around 0.7% a year. It is estimated that around 400 million births have been stopped since the policy was first enacted.

But it has now been scrapped over government concerns the country's ageing population could slow economic growth. It is estimated by 2050 nearly 440 million people in China will be over 60. To combat this the ruling party is abandoning the one-child policy and allowing couples in the country to have up to two children.