Nov. 20 – In the near future, many Chinese families will no longer be bound by the “One-Child Policy” that has been implemented in China for decades. According to the “Decision on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms” passed during the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of China’s Communist Party (“Third Plenum”), couples are eligible to have two children if at least one of the parents is an only child. The existing general policy currently only permits couples to have two children if both parents are only children.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China emphasized in a statement posted on their official website that China is gradually adjusting and improving the current “Fertility Policy” to promote long-term balanced population development.
“It represents a momentous adjustment and improvement of the fertility policy of China since the beginning of the 21st century, and an important strategic decision for the national population development,” the statement said.
Deputy Director of the NHFPC Wang Anpei explained that the current total fertility rate of China has dropped to the average level observed in developed countries. The working-age population is declining by millions of people every year, while the population of senior citizens keeps growing and is expected to reach 200 million by the end of 2013. To maintain a strong labor force and counterbalance China’s rapidly aging population, “the conditions are appropriate and the timing is favorable for adopting the two-child fertility policy for couples where either the husband or the wife is from a single child family,” according to Wang.
However, in order to avoid a sudden surge in the national population, Wang added that “family planning, as a basic national policy, shall be maintained on a long-term basis and the work of family planning shall be carried out on a continuous basis without any slackening. We will continue to implement the Population and Family Planning Law, local level population and family planning regulations, and other relative laws and regulations.”
There is no concise schedule for implementing the new so-called “Two-Child Policy.” Each province and city will determine when and how the new policy will be adopted based on their own unique situation. However, further research must be conducted before revising current local family planning regulations, and the revised regulation cannot come into effect without the approval of the local People’s Congress. Therefore, those who are considering having a second child may still need to wait for further clarification from the government.
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