BREAKING NEWS

Policy shift: China now wants its people to have 3 kids

China scrapped its decades-old one-child policy in 2016, replacing it with a two-child limit which has failed to lead to a sustained upsurge in births. The cost of raising children in cities has deterred many Chinese couples.
 
The latest move was approved by President Xi Jinping at a meeting of top Communist Party officials. It 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 ageing population and maintaining the advantage, endowment of human resources", according to Xinhua news agency.
 
But human rights organisation Amnesty International said the policy, like its predecessors, was still a violation of sexual and reproductive rights.
 
It is widely believed that governments have no business regulating how many children people have. Rather than ‘optimising’ its birth policy, China should instead respect people's life choices and end any invasive and punitive controls over people's family planning decisions.
 
Will people have more kids despite a policy?
 
If relaxing the birth policy was effective, the current two-child policy should have proven to be effective too. But who wants to have three kids? Young people could have two kids at most. The fundamental issue is living costs are too high and life pressures are too huge.
 
This is big news in a country which didn't suddenly start producing more babies when the one-child policy eased off to two. In fact, many are asking how a three-child policy might mean more children when the two-child version didn't and why birth restrictions have remained here at all given the demographic trend.
 
One thought is that, among those prepared to have two children, at least some parents will have three. However, many young Chinese couples were interviewed about this subject and it is hard to find those who want bigger families these days.
 
Generations of Chinese people have lived without siblings and are used to small families — affluence has meant less need for multiple children to become family-supporting workers, and young professionals say they’d rather give one child more advantages than spread their income among several kids.
 
What did the census say?
 
The census, released this month, showed that around 12 million babies were born last year — a significant decrease from the 18 million in 2016, and the lowest number of births recorded since the 1960s.
 
The census was conducted in late 2020 - some seven million census takers had gone door to door to collect information from households.
 
Given the sheer number of people surveyed, it is considered the most comprehensive resource on China's population, which is important for future planning. It was widely expected after the census data results were released that China would relax its family policy rules.

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