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China May Relax One-Child Policy

BEIJING, (UPI) — China, faced with an aging population, is considering relaxing its one-child policy in urban areas, a former national population minister said.

Speaking to China Daily, Zhang Wei-qing, director of the population, resources and environment committee, said changes to the family planning policy were being considered.

The report quoted him as saying plans for making the changes have been drawn up because of demographic challenges, including the aging of society.

One policy change may allow an urban couple to have a second child even if one of the parents isn’t an only child, the report said. Under current policy, each parent must have been an only child to have a second child.

The actions plans for the changes have been presented to the government, Zhang said.

“China’s population policy has always taken into account demographic changes but any fine-tuning to the policy should be gradual and consider the situation in different areas,” Zhang told the newspaper.

The report said any policy change may first be tried in more economically productive regions facing greater demographic challenges or places that have implemented the country’s family planning policy well.

The national fertility rate stands at about 1.7, Zhang said, adding an ideal fertility rate should be at least 1.8.

The report said Chinese President Hu Jintao spoke about family planning at the just-concluded national congress of the Communist Party but his speech for the first time omitted any reference to “maintaining low reproduction levels,” indicting the government’s wish to ease the policy.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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