The Chinese government could be moving to end birth restrictions, amid growing concerns over an ageing population and a dropping birth rate. Under current family planning rules, the majority of Chinese couples are limited to two children, following an easing of the country's notorious "one-child policy" in 2016. These restrictions now look set to be further relaxed under a new draft reform to the country's Civil Code, potentially allowing families to have multiple children for the first time in decades.
According to a brief statement released Tuesday by the National People's Congress, the newly revised code "will no longer retain the relevant content of family planning." The revised code won't be completed until March 2020 and there is no indication yet how exactly the change would be made, or whether any other restrictions or conditions might remain on Chinese families.
But a change to the country's strict family planning laws had been considered likely by experts for some time. "The government will lift the policy, to what degree they then go further with pre-natal policy is another issue, but I think they'll lift the policy in the foreseeable future," Therese Hesketh, a professor at the University College London's Institute for Global Health.
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