China two-child policy not imminent: official

March 6, 2014

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.

Explore further: China starts relaxing one-child policy

Related Stories

China starts relaxing one-child policy

January 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

November 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 in the future.

China performed 330 mn abortions since 1971: data

March 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 filmmaker faces $164 mn lawsuit over children (Update)

December 6, 2013
Top Chinese film director Zhang Yimou is facing a $164 million lawsuit after violating the country's controversial one-child policy, a lawyer said Friday, prompting renewed debate around the rules.

Chinese woman gave birth to twins at 60

December 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.

Forced abortions highlight abuses in China policy

January 10, 2014
When her mind is clear, Gong Qifeng can recall how she begged for mercy. Several people pinned her head, arms, knees and ankles to a hospital bed before driving a syringe of labor-inducing drugs into her stomach.

Recommended for you

To reduce postoperative pain, consider sleep—and caffeine

August 18, 2017
Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health, and chronic insufficient sleep increases the risk for several chronic health problems.

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

0 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.