China to encourage more births in 2019

BY SILVI WRITER

China will encourage childbirth in 2019, as the world most populous country sees is population ageing quickly.

Health officials have even said in late 2018 that China would not set a population target in the future, in the next step a gradual loosening of decades of tight population-control policies.

A total of 17.58 million new babies were born in China in 2017, and about 51 percent of the newborns were not the first child in their families, according to the National Health Commission (NHC).

In comparison, the overall number of new births in 2016 totalled 17.86 million – the biggest annual total on the mainland since 1993 – partly thanks to the relaxation of the control on births.

But the world’s most populous country’s demographic situation is still dominated by a low fertility ratio, shrinking labour force and a quickly ageing population.

By 2030, the government says, 25 percent of China’s population will be approaching the age of 60.

The China Family Planning Association will continue providing guidance on reproductive health and childbirth, helping raise public willingness to have children, and resolving childcare difficulties.

Labor pain, high costs of childcare and education, and shortage of kindergartens were the main reasons that stopped many Chinese parents from having babies, according to Wang Peian, deputy head of the association, in a work conference in Beijing.

Wang said the association would explore more services in childcare and early child development for children aged from under three years old in 2019.

A total of 28 cities in China established guidance centers for childbirth in 2018, to provide standard and convenient services for young couples and growth trainings for children under three years old.

In 2019, the association will help set up more guidance centers and online information platforms for marriage and pregnancy check-ups.

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No Population Target

China won’t set a population target in the future and give people more freedom around childbirth, Wei Yunpeng, deputy director of the Population Monitoring and Family Development Division of the NHC, spoke at a United Nations conference in October, according to Caixin.

Wei’s comments are the latest sign that the government is moving to end decades of restrictive birth-control policies, fueling speculation that China may announce removing birth limits at an upcoming meeting of the Communist Party Central Committee.

Parliament removed “family planning” policies from the latest draft of a revised civil code slated for adoption in 2020, another signal that the policy is being eliminated, according to Bloomberg.

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