China may expand one-child policy to two

2015-07-23 16:07

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Beijing - China will soon replace its controversial one-child policy with a two-child policy, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing an anonymous source.

Nearly all couples would be allowed to have two children after an announcement was made late this year or early next year, the China Business News reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed researcher at the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

The Shanghai-based newspaper reported that a commission official, seeking permission to extend a local pilot scheme in Shanxi province, was told that soon all Chinese would be allowed to have two children.

One commission official in the central Chinese province denied that the conversation ever took place, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday.

If true, the reform would represent the second substantial easing in two years of the policy introduced in 1979 to address social, economic and environmental problems.

A greying population, declining labour force and rising gender imbalance prompted the government to announce nearly two years ago that some parents could have a second child.

Approximately 11 million couples were empowered to have a second child as that policy rolled out in 2014. Nearly 1 million couples applied for a second child, less than half the expected number of 2 million a year and significantly below the rate needed to keep the population steady.

One of the country's top think tanks, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, urged a two-child policy last year in response to declining fertility rates.

In March, Premier Li Keqiang announced that the government would "push forward reform of birth-control management".

The commission announced earlier this month that it was working on a revised policy.

Read more on:    china

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