China discusses “Two-child policy” after population aging looms large; netizens polled
Chinese authorities are considering relaxing the current one-child policy to allow couples to have a second child in the next five years, said Wang Yuqing, deputy director of the National committee of Population, Resources and Environment.
According to the nation’s experts, encouraging a second child is a pressing need. China’s current natural population growth rate of population is about 0.5 percent, and low population growth has been maintained for 20 years. If no measure is taken, population structure will be severely ill-balanced. So far, 12 percent of the population is made up of people aged 60 and above. The demographic would easily expand to account for 30%. The active labor force aged between 28 and 40 will be reduced by half. China now has 140 million single-child households, and the number is increasing by 65,600 each year. Once disability or death of the single child will bring devastating impact on the family. Besides, a young couple supporting four parents will experience great pressure and difficulty.
Ji Baocheng, a national people’s congress (NPC) deputy and president of the Renmin University of China, said that the time for implementation of two-child policy is “totally ripe. It brooks no delay.” At the same time, he said that while a second child is allowed, ban on a third child should be more stringent. Except ethnic minority, no family, be it rural or urban, can have a third child,
Wang Yuqing said that the two-child policy is unlikely to lead to a population surge. Birth rates in large cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, are decreasing because the cost of raising a child is high, and young people’s perception have also changed. “This is also consistent with the international trend: when living standards reach a certain level, the population will naturally decrease.
However, an online poll conducted by City Morning News (都市晨报) on Sina Microblog found that among 6,195 respondents, only 964, or 16%, said they will definitely not consider a second child. However, financial difficulty does seem to be many people’s concern. For example, the current policy exempts a couple of two single children from the one-child policy. In Nanjing alone, over 10,000 households meet the standard, but only 100 people apply to family planning department for such an exemption.