China's one-child policy ends

The first day of 2016 marks the end of China's controversial, 40-year-old one-child policy.

Although families will still require government-issued birth permits, or face the sanction of a forced abortion, couples in China can now request to have two children.

Couples breaking the law have been penalised by losing state benefits, being fined or even sterilised but the country's ageing population, coupled with one of the lowest birth rates in the world, have prompted the change in policy.

Stephen Evans reports from Beijing.