President Xi Jinping approved a new policy for couples to have up to three children during a politburo meeting on May 31.
The major announcement comes five and a half years after the PRC abandoned the one-child policy for two. There had been speculation for the past few years that China would eventually scrap the two-child policy in light of the country’s declining birth rates and shrinking workforce.
The national census, released earlier this month, highlighted a significant drop in the number of newborns to 12 million in 2020. China’s top brass didn't waste much time, putting forward the new policy within a three-week period.
Beijing’s latest measure to encourage couples to have more children is a direct effort to address the country’s shrinking population – which leaves an imbalance of old and young people.
This graph shows China’s decreasing birth rate from 2000 to the late 2010s, and a forecast displaying a continual drop in birth rates for the next 30 years. Image via Statista
The policy announcement quickly became the Chinese internet’s highest trending topic, with 82 million Weibo users following the trending hashtag ‘What changes will the three-child policy bring?’ (#三孩政策会带来哪些改变#).
Xinhua was the first to post the news on social media at 2.59pm on Monday, writing that the policies and supporting measures “actively respond to the aging of the population and maintaining China’s human resource advantage.”
People from all over the country weighed in on the ‘three-child policy,’ with one person posting, “Giving birth to a child is not the key point, the most important issue is parenting. Most families are dual-worker families. It’s difficult enough raising one child, let alone three.”
Another Weibo user questioned what’s next – a four-child policy, ban on abortion, etc.
Screengrab via Weibo
One person voiced their concern that this policy may have an adverse effect, writing: “I think this policy will make women even more afraid of marriage.”
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[Cover image via @新华社/Weibo]