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Children play in Dove Lane, in the old town of Tuancheng in Hotan, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region

China to improve population policy as blueprint unfolds in new era, experts say

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY) -- China’s family planning policy is expected to be further relaxed over the next five years and beyond, with extensive social and economic support provided to counter increasingly prominent problems such as a shrinking workforce and an aging population, experts said.
“The universal second-child policy will by no means be the end of optimisation of the family planning policy,” said Yuan Xin, vice-president of the China Population Association. “More inclusive population policies will be introduced to improve fertility, the quality of the workforce and the structure of the population.”
A blueprint mapping out China’s development over the next five years and in the longer term listed improving the family planning policy to promote balanced population development as a major task in the national strategy to tackle the graying of society. The blueprint for China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), along with development goals for the next 15 years, was released early this month after the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in October. It also called for forming a long-term population development strategy, with a more inclusive family planning policy and the development of affordable nursery services to reduce the cost of raising children.
There could be many aspects to an inclusive family planning policy, such as adjustments to existing policy so it links with related health, education and employment policies, said Yuan, who is also a population studies professor at Nankai University in Tianjin.
“For most of the past decades, the family planning policy was more restrictive and the related social and economic policies were designed to encourage fewer births,” he said. “With the relaxation of the family planning policy in recent years, these policies need adjustment.”
Lu Jiehua, a population studies professor at Peking University, said that in addition to improvements to supporting policies to encourage couples to have a second child, such as building more affordable nursery facilities, the existing family planning policy will be further relaxed because of falling births in recent years and a projected fall in the total population over the next few years.
“More research and discussion is needed as to when the policy can be further relaxed, and to what extent it will be relaxed whether all couples will be allowed to have three children, or whether the family planning policy will be entirely abolished,” he said.

(Latest Update November 24, 2020)

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