China allows couples to have three children
Published: 02:11 PM, 31 May 2021
China has decided to allow each couple to have up to three children, a major policy shift from the existing limit of two after recent data showed a dramatic decline in births in the world's most populous country.
The move was approved by President Xi Jinping in a politburo meeting, state media Xinhua reported Monday.
For almost 40 years, China enforced a controversial "one-child policy" - one of the strictest family planning regulations worldwide - which was lifted in 2016 due to widespread concerns over an ageing workforce and economic stagnation.
"To actively respond to the ageing of the population ... a couple can have three children," Xinhua said, citing a Monday meeting of China's elite Politburo leadership committee hosted by President Xi Jinping.
China's census, released earlier 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.
It was widely expected after the census data results were released that China would relax its family policy rules.
China's gender balance has also been skewed by decades of the one-child policy, and a traditional social preference for boys which prompted a generation of sex-selective abortions and abandoned baby girls. - BBC, AFP