China move points to pos­si­ble end of birth lim­its

Manteca Bulletin - - State/Nation -

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.

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