China to ease one-child policy early next year

BEIJING Tue Dec 24, 2013 4:55am EST

A girl holds the hands of her parents as they walk on a street in Beijing, November 18, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A girl holds the hands of her parents as they walk on a street in Beijing, November 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - Changes to China's strict one-child policy, which will allow more parents to have a second child, will begin to roll out early next year, state media said.

The policy change is expected to go into force in some areas of China in the first quarter of 2014, Yang Wenzhuang, a director at the National Health and Family Planning Commission, told the official Xinhua news agency.

Beijing said last month it would allow millions of families to have two children, the most radical relaxation of its strict one-child policy in close to three decades. The move is part of a plan to raise fertility rates and ease the financial burden on China's rapidly ageing population.

Authorities were in the process of calculating the number of eligible couples, Yang said.

China's largely rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress, is expected to formally approve the new policy later this week.

The policy move has buoyed baby-related stocks and has seen a rush for fertility-boosting products.

China would eventually scrap family planning restrictions, but was unlikely to abandon its family planning policy in the near term, a senior official said last month.

Xinhua cited members of parliament debating the easing of the rules on Tuesday as saying that it was important the country continues to enforce family planning and that people who violate the rules are punished.

"China still has a large population. This has not changed. Many of our economic and social problems are rooted in this reality," Xinhua quoted member of parliament Jiang Fan as saying. "We could not risk letting the population grow out of control."

China, with nearly 1.4 billion people, is the world's most populous country. The government says the policy of limiting families to one child, which covers 63 per cent of the population, has averted 400 million births since 1980.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
dd606 wrote:
This is the kind of thing that truly will help doom the world that much faster. Yet, nobody cares. If this was a story about stupid C02 though, people would be outraged.

Dec 24, 2013 1:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
dd606 wrote:
This is the kind of thing that truly will help doom the world that much faster. Yet, nobody cares. If this was a story about stupid C02 though, people would be outraged.

Dec 24, 2013 1:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:
China will now allow 2nd baby as long as you sell the first one on world market. Now in talks with Russia and Haiti to form “Organization of Baby Exporting Countries.”

Dec 24, 2013 3:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures