China to support couples having third child in response to aging population

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BEIJING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 16: Children eat cotton candy during the Chinese New Year holiday, also known as the Spring Festival, ushering in the Year of the Ox, at a commercial and tourist area on February 16, 2021 in Beijing, China. Although they have been contained, recent outbreaks in the capital and across northern China have prompted the government to cancel most Lunar New Year celebrations nationwide and people have been urged to forego travel during the holiday period which typically sees hundreds of millions move between cities and villages to visit family. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

China has officially further relaxed its family planning policy, supporting couples that wish to have a third child, it was decided at a meeting of the Political Bureau of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee held on Monday.

At the meeting, chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping who is also the general secretary of the CPC, reports on major policy measures to actively address the aging of the population during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025) were reviewed.

The policy shift came not long after China’s once-in-a-decade census, data from which showed a decline in births in the world’s most populous country. Per the census, Chinese population grew at its slowest rate during the last decade since the 1950s. For 2020 alone, per woman’s fertility rate was only 1.3 children, on par with aging countries like Japan.

In 2016, China annulled the one-child policy, which had been imposed to halt a population explosion in 1982, replacing it with a two-child limit.

It was acknowledged at the meeting that despite the two-child policy achieving positive results, the aging of the population in China has deepened in recent years.

Thus, it was determined at the meeting that further optimizing the childbirth policy and implementing the policy to allow couples to have three children with supportive measures will help improve China’s population structure, actively respond to the aging population and preserve the country’s human resource advantages.

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