|Head of China's National Health and Family Planning Commission Li Bin gives a press conference for the second session of China's 12th National People's Congress (NPC) on health and family planning reform, in Beijing, capital of China, March 6, 2014. (Xinhua/Wang Peng)|
BEIJING, March 6 -- China's health department chief said Thursday that there is no timetable for allowing every couple to have second child.
The government will closely monitor the demographic situation and improve the family planning policy based on the changes, said Li Bin, minister in charge of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing annual parliamentary session.
Li confirmed eight provinces have greenlighted the policy allowing couples to have second child if either of them is single child.
Last December, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the top legislature, adopted the policy and entrusted provincial congresses and their standing committees to make their own calls on implementation.
To facilitate implementation, health departments will improve infrastructure, such as maternity and pediatric hospitals, and simplify the procedures, Li said.
However, the basic family planning principle has not changed as the country is still the world's most populous, she said.
Family planning is written into the Constitution as an essential state strategy and any adjustment requires a resolution by the top legislature.
The move to ease the policy followed steadily declining birth rates and changing demographics that reduce the working population.