A government think tank is urging Chinese leaders to start phasing out China’s one-child policy immediately and allow two children for every family by 2015, a daring proposal to do away with the unpopular policy.
Some demographers see the time line put forward by the China Development Research Foundation as a bold move by the body close to the central leadership. Others warn that the gradual approach, if implemented, still would be insufficient to help correct the problems that China’s strict birth limits have created.
Xie Meng, a press-affairs official with the foundation, said the final version of the report will be released “in a week or two.” But Chinese state media have been given advance copies. The official Xinhua News Agency said the foundation recommends a two-child policy in some provinces from this year and a nationwide two-child policy by 2015. It proposes all birth limits be dropped by 2020, Xinhua reported.
“China has paid a huge political and social cost for the policy, as it has resulted in social conflict, high administrative costs and led indirectly to a long-term gender imbalance at birth,” Xinhua said, citing the report.
But it remains unclear whether Chinese leaders are ready to take up the recommendations.
Known to many as the one-child policy, China’s actual rules are more complicated. The government limits most urban couples to one child and allows two children for rural families if their firstborn is a girl. Numerous other exceptions include looser rules for minority families and a two-child limit for parents who are themselves both singletons.