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China’s new two-child policy possibly takes effect on 2014

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Directly aimed to avert an aging population crisis, China may possibly implement its new two-child policy on 2014, albeit only on selective couples or family structures.

On 2014, China's 35-year-old one-child policy will be abolished to allow couples to have a second child if either parent is an only child.

By 2015, the new law could be further extended to all families or couples to allow them to have two children.

The existing one-child policy only exempts those who are both sole children. They are the only ones eligible to have a second child.

"Our commission is organizing research on the size, quality, structure and distribution of the population so that we can propose plans to improve the (one-child) policy," Mao Qun'an, director of the propaganda office at the National Health and Family Planning Commission, was quoted by Xinhua News.

Once implemented, estimates gathered by Bank of America Merrill Lynch showed the world could expect a whopping 9.5 million additional births from China alone over the first five years of the new law's execution.

According to the country's National Bureau of Statistics, its working age population is already shrinking. And this is expected to peak by 1.4 billion in 2020, based on estimates by the United Nations. The ratio of people over 65 years old versus those of the younger, working ages will jump from 11 per cent in 2010 to 24 per cent in 2030, and then to 44 per cent in 2050.

"We believe that the reform-minded President Xi (Jinping) and Premier Li (Keqiang) will use the opportunity of abolishing the one-child policy to build up their authority, show their determination in making changes and convince the Chinese people that they do have a roadmap for reforms," Ting Lu and Xiaojia Zhi, China economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a note over the weekend.

Introduced in 1978, the Chinese government enforced the policy to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems. But because of the policy's social stigma, it has triggered an increase in forced abortions as well as female infanticide. From 1980 to 2000, the policy has prevented more than 250 million births, and 400 million births from about 1979 to 2011.

Netizens upon learning of the proposed amended law immediately took to verbalise their approval through an online survey concocted by the Southern Metropolis Daily.

More than half, or 56 per cent, of the 1,400 respondents said they indeed want to have a second child; 28 per cent said they would but unfortunately could afford only one child; while 12 per cent said they do not want any children at all.

According to the CIA World Factbook, China's estimated 2013 population growth rate and birth rate are the 154th and 161st slowest globally respectively, from a total list of 223 countries. The factbook likewise reported that the country is seeing net emigration, a term which meant that more people are leaving the country compared to people wanting to immigrate to it.

International Business Times

August 6 2013, 10:55

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