China's population

Too little, too late? China takes small step in relaxing one-child policy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 6:24pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 November, 2015, 4:11pm

China has relaxed its one-child policy to allow couples to have a second baby if either parent is an only child, Chinese financial media company reported on its website, Details will be released after the third plenary session.

This is a major amendment in the 33 years since the one-child policy was established. 

While some demographers have said that the policy change is too little, too late, most agree that it was a “a small step” in the right direction of reforming the family planning policy. 

China’s birth rate last year was 12.10 per thousand. Demographers argue that in 10 years, China’s population will reach a peak of 1.4 billion and then start to decrease. By which time, birth control will be unnecessary. And they urge the government to allow every family to have a second child as soon as possible.

Today is the last day of the third plenary session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. And according to Caixin’s anonymous source, the reform of the one-child policy was a topic discussed at the meeting. The National Health and Family Planning Commission scheduled a discussion with experts and scholars but cancelled at the last minute.

Mao Qun’an, a spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said in a press conference on Monday that after considerable research, the commission had come up with a vision to improve the current family planning policy, and the next step was to implement it under the central government’s direction.

Over the past 40 years, China had accumulatively reduced the birth rate by 400 million under the one-child policy, which had “significantly eased pressure on resources and the environment from excessive population growth”, said Xinhua news agency on Monday.