The Sun (Malaysia)

China ends one-child policy

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BEIJING: China announced the end of its hugely controvers­ial one-child policy yesterday, with the official Xinhua news agency saying that all couples would be allowed two children.

It cited a communique issued by the ruling Communist Party after a four-day meeting in Beijing to chart the course of the world’s second-largest economy over the next five years.

China is “abandoning its decades-long onechild policy”, Xinhua reported.

The policy restricted most couples to only a single offspring, and for years authoritie­s argued that it was a key contributo­r to China’s economic boom.

But after years of strict, sometimes brutal enforcemen­t by a dedicated government commission, China’s population – the world’s largest – is now ageing rapidly, gender imbalances are severe, and its workforce is shrinking.

The concerns led to limited reforms in 2013, including allowing a second child for some couples in urban areas, but relatively few have taken up the opportunit­y.

The Communist leadership met in Beijing to discuss ways to put the country’s stuttering economy back on a smooth growth path as it struggles with structural inefficien­cies and social policies left over from an era before it embraced market reforms.

Known as the fifth plenum, the conclave discussed the next Five-Year Plan for China. Over four days of meetings, the 205 members of the Central Committee, plus around 170 alternates, examined the specifics of the plan, which was largely worked out through a process of national consultati­ons. – AFP

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