The Chinese government currently limits most urban couples to one child, and allows two children for rural families if their firstborn is a girl Photo: EPAChina should immediately end its one-child policy and instead adopt a two-child scheme, a foundation with close links to the highest levels of the Communist party has said.
The report from the China Development Research Foundation set a three-year deadline to phase in the reform.
The authors of the report are perhaps the most significant voices yet in the growing chorus for China to rethink its one-child policy.
“We have been discussing the one-child policy since 2000,” said Li Jiamin, a specialist in population studies at Nankai university, and one of the co-authors of the study. “It is just a matter of finding the right solution. Making the jump to two children is only a matter of time now.”
He added: “If China sticks to the one-child policy, we are looking at a situation as bad as the one in southern Europe. Old people will make up a third of the population by 2050.”
The sacrifices made by Chinese families under the one-child policy have had an enormous impact, not only on China’s resources but on the world. The Chinese population has been reduced by between 100 million and 400 million, according to various estimates.
However, the new study argues that bringing the policy to an end will not unleash a huge population boom.
Prof Li also said many families who have the right to have a second child under the current policies are choosing not to, perhaps because of the expense.
However, he added that the report had not yet generated any feedback from the National Family Planning Commission in Beijing. “They basically feel that it will take more time to change the policy,” said Prof Li.