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  Wednesday, June 26, 2019
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Chinese authorities have liberalized the country's birth-control policy
Chinese authorities have liberalized the country's birth-control policy allowing urban families to have two children in some circumstances, the Xinhua news agency quoted a senior official at the family planning commission as saying Wednesday. Except for the country's most densely populated province of Henan, Central China, which has a population of around 97 million people, couples can have two children if both parents were only children. Since the 1970s, China has maintained its "one-child policy," restricting the number of children to one in urban families. Rural regions are governed by the "one-and-a-half children" policy, where couples can have a second child if their first is a girl. No birth restrictions have been imposed on national minorities. Those who violate the law are fined and have to cover all social costs, including health care and education. Since 2000, the family planning policy has been aimed at maintaining the birth rate, not at lowering it. However, the government needs to maintain its birth policy as the baby boom generation of the 1970s and 80s has now reached marriage and childbearing age. If birth control restrictions are lifted, the country risks another population surge. The Chinese population is estimated at 1.3 billion, but if there had been no family planning policy that figure would have reached 1.7 billion.
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