China announces three-child policy

Lawrence Kim
May 31, 2021

In 2016, China replaced its one-child policy - initially imposed to halt a population explosion at the time - with a two-child limit.

The change was approved by President Xi Jinping in a politburo meeting, state media outlet Xinhua said.

The policy change will come with "supportive measures, which will be conducive to improving our country's population structure, fulfilling the country's strategy of actively coping with an aging population and maintaining the advantage, endowment of human resources", Xinhua said.

It did not specify what the support measures would be.

CHINA'S infamous child policy has existed for decades as a means to control the country's population.

Yet figures show it led to an imbalance in the sex of the populationCredit: GettyHow many children are you allowed to have in China?

Births out of marriage are also considered a violation of China's strict family planning rules and unmarried couples had to pay a fine to register their newborn.

The poll was later removed.

Shares in birth- and fertility-related companies surged.

It comes just three weeks after Beijing published its 2020 census, which showed China's population was growing at its slowest rate in decades.

"This is without a doubt a step in the right direction, but still it's a bit timid", Shuang Ding, chief economist at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong, told Reuters.

But after a brief rise the next year, births declined.

Analysts said that with substantial ageing of the population already in view, the census numbers will also give ammunition to policymakers arguing in favour of raising the country's retirement age sooner than later.

Fines of 130,000 yuan ($20,440) were being imposed on people for having a third child as of late a year ago, according to a government notice in the city of Weihai.

China's one-child policy was introduced in 1979 and for more than 35 years limited couples to a single offspring, as the country tried to address overpopulation and alleviate poverty. A spike in births following the previous relaxation to allow most families to have two children was short-lived, with many parents citing the high costs of housing and education as a limiting factor.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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