China looks to further relax one-child policy: Li
“(We will) make improvements and adjustments to the policy in accordance with legal procedures,” Li told his annual media briefing here without giving a specific time frame.
Li said authorities are currently conducting comprehensive reviews on the implementation of the birth policy which now allows couples to have two children if either parent is an only child.
China, the world’s most populous country, first introduced its family planning policy in the late 1970s to rein in surging population by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two if the first child was a girl.
The policy meant that about one-third of China’s 1.3 billion citizens cannot have a second child without incurring a fine for violating the policy.
But the policy ran into criticism in recent years as China’s old age population grew considerably creating a demographic crisis.
A major policy change was adopted at the end of 2013, stipulating that couples nationwide could have a second child if either parent was an only child.
The adjustment which was put into practice in early 2014, did not lead to a baby boom many had expected, and experts are now suggesting a full implementation of the two-child policy.
However, Li said authorities are still “weighing pros and cons based on the outcome of the comprehensive review and taking into accounts China’s economic and social development as well as changes in the demographic structure”.
Statistics from the China Population Association showed that China had registered some 16.9 million new births in 2014, 470,000 more than the previous year.
The figure is expected to be raised by another one million this year thanks to the easing birth policy, the association said in February.
Chinese authorities had in the past defended the country’s previous one-child policy, saying it had prevented around 400 million people from being added to China’s population.
But the policy did lead to a number of social problems over the years.
‘Chinese polluters will pay a price ‘too high to bear’
As his government resorted to tough measures to control pollution, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has warned polluters that they will pay a price “too high to bear” for their illegal acts.
All businesses involved in illegal production and emission, no matter what kind of business they are, will be brought to justice and held accountable, Li said at his annual press conference on the side-lines of the legislature, the National People’s Congress, (NPC). “We need to make the cost for doing so too high to bear,” he said in a reply on whether two Chinese state owned oil giants, Sinopec and Petro China, have obstructed the implementation of environment policies in the country.
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