China eases two-child policy, encourages couples to have up to three children

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Beijing

China’s national legislature formally approved the three-child policy mooted by the ruling Communist Party, in a major policy shift aimed at preventing a steep decline in birth rates in China.

The revised Population and Family Planning Law, which allows Chinese couples to have three children, was passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), per China Daily.

The decision to permit the third child came after this month’s once-in-a-decade census showed that China’s population grew at the slowest pace to 1.412 billion amid official projections that the decline may begin as early as next year.

The new census figures revealed that the demographic crisis China faced was expected to deepen as the population of people above 60 years grew to 264 million, up by 18.7% last year.

In an apparent attempt to address the reluctance of the Chinese couples to have more children due to mounting costs, the amended law has also passed more social and economic support measures to address the concerns.

The new law stipulates that the country will take supportive measures, including those in finances, taxes, insurance, education, housing and employment, to reduce families’ burdens as well as the cost of bringing up and educating children, China Daily reported.

The NPC has revised the law to implement the central leadership’s decision to cope with new circumstances in social and economic development and promote balanced long-term population growth, the report said.

The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) had approved a relaxati on of its strict two-child policy to allow all couples to have up to three children, this May.
China permitted all couples to have two children in 2016, scrapping the draconian decades-old one-child policy which policymakers blame for the demographic crisis in the country.

Chinese officials claim the one-child policy implemented for over three decades has prevented over 400 million births.—AP

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