China two-child policy not imminent: official

China's health ministry on Thursday dampened speculation that the country could dump its one-child policy and allow families to have two.

The world's most populous country has restricted most families to one child since the late 1970s, but its ruling Communist party said in November that couples would be allowed to have two children so long as one of the parents is an only child.

State media on Monday quoted senior family planning official Ma Xu as saying the government was researching the option of allowing all couples to have a second child, prompting speculation of a further relaxation.

But Health Minister Li Bin threw on the possibility Thursday, telling a press conference that "basic policy cannot be changed" and adding there was "no timetable" for more fundamental reforms.

She spoke at a press conference on the sidelines of the National People's Congress, the annual meeting of the Communist-controlled parliament.

Critics have said the November adjustment will not be enough to tackle China's growing demographic problems—such as a gender imbalance and ageing population—because comparatively few couples will qualify for the exception.

Implementation has reportedly also been hindered by a bureaucratic gauntlet facing parents applying to have a second child, who are required to prove they have no siblings.

The country's birth limit policies have at times been brutally enforced, with authorities relying on permits, fines, and, in some cases forced sterilisations and late-term abortions.

China says the policy prevented and laid the foundations for the country's recent economic growth.

Critics argue it has contributed to the in China, where almost 118 boys were born for every 100 girls in 2012.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China starts relaxing one-child policy

Jan 17, 2014

China began to implement the loosening of its controversial one-child policy Friday when a province announced it has made it legal for couples to have two children if one parent is an only child.

China: Birth limits still needed despite easing

Nov 19, 2013

China has no intention of abandoning family planning controls soon despite announcing it would ease the one-child policy, a government spokesman said Tuesday, adding that the policy could be loosened further ...

China performed 330 mn abortions since 1971: data

Mar 16, 2013

Nearly 330 million abortions have been performed in China in the 40 years since it first implemented measures to limit population growth in the world's most populous nation, official data showed.

Chinese woman gave birth to twins at 60

Dec 24, 2013

A Chinese woman had twin girls at the age of 60 following IVF treatment after her only child died, making her possibly the oldest person in the country to give birth, state media reported Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Halloween at the ER is no treat

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating may seem like harmless fun, but Halloween injuries send many children to emergency rooms in the United States every year, experts say.

Fewer malpractice claims paid in the US

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The number of medical malpractice payments in the United States has dropped sharply since 2002, according to a new study. And compensation payment amounts and liability insurance costs for many ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.