SALT LAKE CITY — The news of China's plan to ease its one-child policy was welcomed by people at the World Congress of Families as the conference entered its third day here.
The conference, billed as the largest gathering of "pro-family" advocates in the world, states in its manifesto that they "welcome and celebrate more babies and larger families, where others would continue a war on human fertility."
Steve Smoot, the president of Family First Foundation, announced the news to claps and "wow's" from the morning audience.
Mengmeng Fu, a high school exchange student at American Heritage School who was at the conference, said she thought Westerners misunderstood the one-child policy.
Fu, who is from China, pointed out that the law had made exceptions for families in rural areas, as well as urban families who are willing to pay a fee to have another child. Fu, for example, has a 5-year-old little brother, she said.
"We need to focus on the bigger picture. Now the situation is getting better, so they are changing the policy," Fu said. "From my perspective, I feel the government knows what they're doing."
Wendy Jyang, a conference attendee who runs a nonprofit that helps low-income Chinese youth with job training, said that she supported the change.
"From an LDS point of view, the Lord is granting great mercy toward children, and besides children, mothers, because that means there will be less abortion going on," said Jyang.
Jyang said the children in China were growing increasingly selfish without the benefits of growing up with siblings, and that though many parents in China are "afraid to have another sibling," larger families would bring them joy.
She said business-minded people in China are already looking forward to a boom in the baby products, kindergarten and parenting industries.
"They get to set a new chapter of their society," Jyang said.