China to ease one-child policy in 2014


Chinese state media reported changes to China’s strict one-child policy on Tuesday, which will allow more parents to have a second child. The new changes will begin to roll out early next year.

A director at the National Health and Family Planning Commission reported to state news agency that  in the first quarter of 2014, the policy change is expected to go into force in some areas of the country.

Last month, Beijing said it would allow millions of families to have two children, the most radical relaxation of its strict one-child policy in close to three decades.

The move is part of a plan to raise fertility rates and ease the financial burden on China’s rapidly ageing population.

Authorities were in the process of calculating the number of eligible couples, Yang said.

China’s National People’s Congress is expected to formally approve the new policy later this week.

State news agency cited members of parliament debating the easing of the rules asserting that it was important the country continues to enforce family planning and that people who violate the rules are punished.

China, with nearly 1.4 billion people, is the world’s most populous country. The government says the policy of limiting families to one child, which covers 63 per cent of the population, has averted 400 million births since 1980.