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China's new family planning rule to take effect in 2014

2013-12-24 15:18 CNTV Web Editor: Li Yan

China may implement changes to its one-child policy as early as next year. The bill proposes allowing couples to have two children if either parent is an only child. A bi-monthly session of China's top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National Peoples' Congress reviewed the bill submitted by the State Council. An official from the National Health and Family Planning Commission confirmed the new policy is expected to take effect at the beginning of next year.

"Local health and family planning authorities are assessing the local demographical situation and family planning situation. They are also calculating the number of such couples and their situation. Local provincial congresses will make their arrangements and amend the regulation accordingly. I expect the new policy to go into force in some provincial regions in the first quarter of 2014," said Yang Wenzhuang from National Health and Family Planning Commission.

The State Council has argued for adjustment to the policy in the face of a steadily declining birth rate and changing demographics. The birth rate has remained relatively low and has shown a tendency to fall further. The rate has dropped to between 1.5 and 1.6 since the 1990s, far below the 2.1 rate recognized by the UN. The rate is defined as the average number of births per Chinese mother.

Meanwhile, the working population that began to drop in 2012 by 3.45 million annually, is likely to fall by 8 million annually after 2023. The population aged 60 and above will reach 400 million and account for one-fourth of the total population in the early 2030s.

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