Married couples in China are now allowed to have a second child, as the country officially ended its one-child policy on Sunday by passing a bill into law, AFP reported. The step was announced by the ruling Communist Party in October and will come into force from January 1, according to Xinhua news agency. However, the legislation maintains a limit on couples having more than two children.

Concerns such as a rapidly ageing population, acute gender imbalances and a shrinking workforce led China to rethink its one-child policy and introduce reforms in 2013. Implemented in the 1970s with a system of levying fines and forced abortions on violators, authorities argued for years that the policy was the primary reason behind China’s economic boom and had prevented 400 million births.

China also adopted its first counter-terrorism law on Sunday.