Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 腾讯微博 Wednesday 3 June 2015
English>>China Society

China’s second child push falls short

(Shanghai Daily)    08:33, January 13, 2015

China’s  push to encourage more couples to have a second child after decades of restrictive family planning policies has fallen short in its first year.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission received less than half of an estimated 2 million annual applications for couples to have a second child, it said yesterday, without giving exact numbers.

However, the number of applications was still in line with expectation, Mao Quan’an, a spokesman with the commission told a press conference yesterday.

The figures will add to growing calls for the government to scrap all family planning restrictions as China faces the prospect of becoming the first country in the world to get old before it gets rich.

Mao said that the commission will put more effort toward improving the population monitoring mechanism and will stipulate relevant policies, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We will also collect public opinion on health care for pregnant women and children in a timely manner,” Mao added.

China has restricted most families to a single child since the late 1970s, but it has started easing controls, allowing couples to have two offspring so long as one of the parents is an only child, rather than both.

The change began with a pilot program in the wealthy coastal province of Zhejiang before expanding nationwide. Couples must still submit an application to the commission before having a second child, and not all have been approved.

While China is the world’s most populous nation with 1.34 billion people, many analysts say the one-child policy has shrunk China’s labor pool, hurting economic growth.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s working-age population fell by 2.44 million last year.

Over-60s accounted for 14.9 percent of the total population, it said, and projections show that they will represent one in four of the population — 350 million people — by 2030.

The new policy mostly affects couples in urban areas, where the family planning policy has been implemented more strictly than in the countryside. However, education and housing are expensive in cities, and reliance on children in old age is lower, making multiple offspring less necessary.

According to the China News Daily newspaper’s calculations, about 30,000 families in Beijing, just 6.7 percent of those eligible, applied to have a second child.

The Beijing government said last year that it expected an extra 54,200 births annually as a result of the change in rules.

In Liuzhou City in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, only 20 percent of eligible families applied, while in Guilin City 30 percent applied.

In Anhui Province in eastern China, just 12 percent applied, the newspaper said.

It cited a demographic expert as saying that families were worried about the cost of raising a second child.

China’s population control policies have at times been brutally enforced, with local authorities relying on permits, fines and, in some cases, forced sterilizations and late-term abortions.

In one famous case, film director Zhang Yimou was fined 7.48 million yuan (US$1.2 million) for breaches of the country’s one-child policy.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Zhang Qian)

Add your comment

Related reading

We Recommend

Most Viewed


Key Words