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China could be one step closer to scrapping its controversial childbirth limits

China may be one step nearer to abandoning its controversial policy of restricting childbirth. The central bank released a paper late Wednesday suggesting the country remove limits on how many children people can have, suggesting that China should “fully liberalize and encourage childbirth.” As China’s population began aging, Chinese authorities began several years ago to roll back the decades-old “one-child policy” and allow people to have two children. But births continued to fall, dropping 15% in 2020 in a fourth-straight year of decline.

“In order to achieve the long-term goals in 2035, China should fully liberalize and encourage childbirth, and sweep off difficulties (women face) during pregnancy, childbirth, and kindergarten and school enrollment by all means (possible),” four central bank researchers wrote in the English-language abstract to a working paper.

The 22-page document was dated March 26 and shared publicly on Wednesday. The paper stated the authors’ views do not represent that of the central bank. However, the call to drop restrictions on births marks the latest high-level discussion of how to address China’s aging population problems. One of China’s main concerns is the impact these demographic changes could have on economic development. In two dedicated sections of the paper, researchers from the People’s Bank of China laid out how these demographic issues put China at an economic disadvantage to the U.S. and India. “If my country has narrowed the gap with the U.S. over the past 40 years by relying on cheap labor and the bonus of a huge population, what can it rely on in the next 30 years? This is worth thinking over,” the authors wrote in Chinese, according to a CNBC translation.

China could be one step closer to scrapping its controversial childbirth limits, CNBC, Apr 16

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