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China may abolish two child limits, according to state media

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china children
Children
wave Chinese flags.

Feng
Li/Getty


  • Chinese state media suggested that China might abolish
    its family planning policies, and end the two-child cap on
    households.
  • The government previously operated draconian birth
    control policies: It issued the one-child policy in 1979,
    before relaxing it to a two-child policy in 2016.
  • China has appeared to relax its family planning
    policies in recent months.
  • The country is struggling with a severe gender
    imbalance and an ageing population.

The Chinese government may soon abolish limits on the number of
children couples are allowed to have, the country’s state
newspapers have suggested.

China’s leaders are considering a draft law that drops all
policies to do with family planning, the state-run
Procuratorate Daily wrote
on popular microblogging site Weibo
on Monday.

Bloomberg on Tuesday
also cited People’s Daily
, another state-run newspaper, as
saying that the new draft of the civil code had removed all
“family planning-related content.”

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress — an
elite, 150-person arm of China’s national legislature — are
discussing the new civil code this week,
the newspaper added
. If the law is approved, it will be
submitted and passed in China’s parliamentary meeting in March
2020.

The elimination of family planning rules from new state laws
suggests that the country’s restrictions on childbirth would no
longer be enforced, effectively ending Beijing’s
almost-40-year-old experiment with population control.


child china
A
family in Shanghai in 2015.

Reuters/Aly Song

Chinese couples are currently allowed to have a maximum of two
children. Between 1979 and 2016, the country operated a
one-child policy in an attempt to clamp down on population
growth, which had doubled over the three decades before.

While some couples were
given exceptions
 from the one-child policy, the
government generally enforced the policy around the country using
draconian methods such as forced
abortions, sterilizations, and fines
.

Growing hints that China wants more children

Rumors that China is moving away from the two-child policy have
been brewing over the past few months as
Beijing scrapped the commission responsible for administering the
two-child policy
.

Earlier this month the country’s official postal service, China
Post, debuted a stamp design for 2019 — the Year of the Pig in
the Chinese zodiac —
featuring a family of two pigs and three piglets
. Previous
stamp designs depicted animal families with two children.

Some Chinese provinces have also been actively encouraging people
to get pregnant by
offering “baby bonuses,”
which countries like Estonia and
Australia already offer. In the city of Xiantao, parents receive
1,200 yuan ($177) for having a second baby, the state-run
Global Times tabloid reported
.

In Jiangsu province, women are also given “fetus protection
leave” in order to support national population plans, and are
allowed to take paid days off work in their first trimester to
prevent miscarriages.


china post stamp design three piglets.JPG
China
Post president Liu Aili, left, and stamp designer Han Meilin
present a design showing two pigs and three piglets in Beijing on
August 6.

Du Yang/CNS via
Reuters


Why China might be loosening up

The new policy change, if confirmed, comes as China wrangles with
a severe gender imbalance and an ageing population.

There are nearly 34 million more males than females in China’s
1.4 billion-strong population,
The Washington Post reported earlier this year
. China
traditionally favors boys over girls, and many couples insisted
on having their only child be a son.

Authorities hoped that relaxing the one-child limit to two would
solve the country’s demographic problems, but it hasn’t. The
continued decline in births has been attributed to women delaying
marriage and children in order to pursue their careers.

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