China’s controversial one-child policy should be phased out – starting immediately – and allow two children families by 2015. This is the bold view of a government think tank called the China Development Research Foundation.
The Foundation is said to have close ties to central government and its timeline is being described by some demographers – those who study populations – as promising.
Cai Yong, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, told AP that the report holds extra weight because the think tank is under the State Council, China’s Cabinet. He said he found it remarkable that state-backed demographers were willing to publicly propose such a detailed schedule and plan on how to get rid of China’s birth limits.
AP reports Xie Meng, a press affairs official with the Foundation, as saying that a final version of its report will be released “in a week or two.” Chinese state media have reportedly 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.
Some say that even if the moves go ahead, they will not be enough to correct problems caused by the strict rule, which was introduced in 1978 and initially applied to first-born children from 1979.
“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.