China to end planned birth policy: observer
A complete end to China's family planning policy was "only a matter of time," a Chinese demographer said on Tuesday, and reflected a fundamental change in the country's thinking about population control.
Introduced in 1979, China's "one-child" family planning policy averted an estimated 400 million births, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
The policy began to be phased out into a "two-child" policy near the end of 2015 and now experts are predicting its complete dismantlement。
China once saw population as a burden and restricted the number of children through family planning, Huang Wenzheng, a demographic expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday, "but that notion is likely to be overturned."
There are many signs, he said. In March, China's national health and family planning commission was renamed the National Health Commission and the 2018 Government Work Report also made no mention of "family planning."
A report in Bloomberg on Monday said that China was planning "to scrap all limits on the number of children a family can have," and predicted an announcement in 2019.
Scrapping birth limits was "only a matter of time," and represented "a fundamental change in the demographic concept of the country," Huang said. "Population will no longer be regarded as a burden but as precious human resources."
Local governments are already embracing the population as "human resources" and offering preferential policies to attract talent, Huang said.
Ending birth limits is urgent, Huang believed.
Fewer Chinese families nowadays are willing to have three or more children. People in the cities already regard one child as enough, he said. Rural families are also increasingly falling in line with this thinking, he noted.
China's population is expected to dwindle by as much as 800,000 a year in the next decade, Xinhua reported.
China must offer policies that promote more births, Huang said, such as reducing income tax for high-income families, subsidies for low-income families and free nursery and kindergarten care for newborns.
The National Health Commission did not reply to interview requests from the Global Times as of press time.