China move points to possible end of birth limits
BEIJING (AP) — China is eliminating a trio of agencies responsible for enforcing family planning policies in a further sign the government may be planning to scrap long- standing limits on the number of children its citizens can have.
The move was part of a reorganization of the National Health Commission announced Monday that creates a new single department called the Division of Population Monitoring and Family Development responsible for “establishing and perfecting a specialized system for supporting families.”
Expectations of an end to birth limits were also raised by the appearance of a postage stamp last month featuring smiling mother and father pigs with three piglets.
Alarmed by the rapidly aging population and shrinking workforce, China abandoned its notorious one-child policy two years ago to allow two children, producing a nearly 8 percent increase in births in 2016, with nearly half of the babies born to couples who already had a child.
However, that appeared to have been a one- time increase, with 17.2 million births in the country last year, down from 17.9 million in 2016. Meanwhile, the proportion of the population aged 60 or older increased last year to 17.3 percent.
China currently has the world’s largest population at 1.4 billion, which is expected to peak at 1.45 billion in 2029.