Relaxation Of China’s ‘One-Child Policy’ Possible Despite Family Planning Minister’s Comments, Reuters Reports

“China could be considering relaxing its … one-child policy,” which “is increasingly being seen as an impediment to growth and the harbinger of social problems,” such as a declining workforce, Reuters reports. “Expectations that Beijing will ease the restrictions, by gradually allowing couples to have two children, have been building since outgoing President Hu Jintao conspicuously dropped the phrase ‘maintain a low birth rate’ in a work report to a Communist Party congress in November,” the news service writes, adding, “It was the first time in a decade that a major speech by a top leader had omitted such a reference and could signal that the new government led by Xi Jinping is leaning toward reform.”

“The new leadership in Beijing, which assumes power formally in March, is likely to make another run at change, reform advocates believe,” Reuters states. “‘The adjustment of the policy is certain, it’s only a question of time,’ said a recently retired official from the family planning commission, who maintains close ties with the agency,” the news service notes. However, “there are significant pockets of resistance,” Reuters writes, noting Wang Xia, the family planning commission minister, last week “said China will ‘unswervingly adhere’ to its family planning policy.” According to the news agency, “Analysts said Wang’s remarks did not necessarily reflect the thinking of the incoming government. The commission declined to comment” (Wee/Li, 1/21).

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