China: end of the one-child policy?

Publié le : 5 December 2012

 In China, the one-child policy introduced in 1979 may be relaxed. According to the official newspaper China Daily, Zhang Weiqing, the former Director of the National Family Planning Commission in charge of implementing this policy, pointed out "the Commission, in collaboration with other Demographic Research Institutes, has submitted to the government a report and a plan of action concerning a change of policy." This Commission is a consultative body of the central power.       

Essentially, "the reform would concern urban dwellers who could be authorised to have a second child even if one of the two parents is not an only child – a condition required at present to be exempted from the rule. Beijing intends to relax the pressure on the middle class, more prompt to criticise the regime, but above all it seeks to meet an immediate economic challenge." Zhang Weiqing explained: "this relaxed policy could be applied first of all in the most productive regions in economic terms which are facing greater demographic challenges, with notably an ageing population and a large flow of incoming migrant workers.
So, even though the measure may appear "timid", the article points out that "this the first time that the programmed end of this 30-year-old system had been formulated by a State body."  Currently, "the birth rate is 1.18 children per woman and 13.3% of the population is already over 60 years of age. This ratio is likely to rise to 33% in 2050."

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