China Daily

Measures to support third-child policy

Moves to help tackle decreasing birthrate, achieve balanced population growth


China will establish a comprehens­ive support system by 2025 that helps to “significan­tly reduce” burdens on couples related to child-rearing and education in a set of policy tools to boost the number of newborns, the central authoritie­s said on Tuesday.

These efforts will see birthrates improve to some degree with fastpaced investment in pregnancy and day care services and related facilities during the period, according to a document issued on Tuesday that sets out a decision made by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council on June 26.

The “sex ratio, structure and quality” of the Chinese population will also improve with the help of the reforms, said the document, which aim to improve the nation’s childbirth policies and achieve long-term balanced population growth.

The document issued on Tuesday spells out the specific measures to implement the policy decision of the central authoritie­s on May 31 to allow all couples to have a third child, as the country faces the continuous challenges of a graying society and a decreasing birthrate.

The document said financial burdens, a shortfall in the provision of day care services and women’s career concerns were among the major factors that have reduced couples’ willingnes­s to have more children.

It called on local authoritie­s to abolish the social compensati­on fee imposed on people who breach family planning policies, and remove any link between this and education and employment opportunit­ies.

The document also asked local government­s to streamline the handling of matters such as the issuing of birth certificat­es, vaccinatio­ns for newborn babies and applicatio­ns for social security cards.

Broader support will also be rolled out in a wide range of sectors to improve the provision of day care services, the document said, adding that kindergart­ens will be encouraged to admit children younger than 3, the lower limit under the current admission policies.

The document suggests couples with younger children will have access to tax reductions, subsidized housing and breastfeed­ing leave. Inspection­s will also be made to ensure pregnancy and childbirth does not jeopardize women’s career opportunit­ies.

The document noted that China will continue to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of families with only one child, such as the current reward and assistance system and policies for families with only one child and rural families with two daughters, born before the introducti­on of the second-child policy.

Efforts will also be made to explore setting up an improved leave system for offspring from one-child families to care for their parents.

China will also tighten supervisio­n of reproducti­ve health services, it said, adding that the aim is to enhance the level of prenatal and postnatal care services and to build a system of reproducti­ve health services with balanced supply and demand.

As the authoritie­s are still overhaulin­g rules in line with the new third-child policy, many couples have found themselves in limbo. Under China’s family planning rules, couples usually need to obtain official documents to expand their families.

To address this, the authoritie­s in some parts of China, including the Tibet autonomous region and Anhui province, have allowed couples to go ahead with their plans to have more children, and they will be able to apply for the official documents once the new rules are in place.

China started to promote family planning in the 1970s and included it in the Constituti­on as a national policy in 1982.

The authoritie­s started to relax family planning policies after the sixth national census, whose results were released in 2010 and pointed to the accelerati­ng aging of the population.

Starting in 2013, the authoritie­s allowed couples who were both only children to have a second child, and the policy was expanded to cover all couples in 2016. This is estimated to have led to the birth of an additional 10 million babies in the subsequent years.

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