China is considering scrapping its controversial “one-child policy”, allowing all Chinese couples to have two children. The new regulation could be implemented “as soon as the end of the year if everything goes well”, China Business News reported.
The development comes over a year after the Chinese government decided to ease the policy by permitting couples to have two children as long as one of the parens is an only child. Previously, the law required both parents to be only children in order to have a second child.
Other exceptions to the law, introduced in the late 1970s amid fears of a population explosion, allow minority families and rural couples with a female firstborn to have more than one child.
While no official timetable has been set to allow all Chinese couples to have a second child, experts believe the new regulation will be launched before 2016, China Daily reports.
Financial media outlet China Business Network reported Wednesday that further relaxation of the family planning policy would come as early as this year if everything goes well. The report cited anonymous sources who participated in the policy survey as saying that relevant departments, including the National Health and Family Planning Commission, have begun assessing the policy and would push it ahead.
As of now, 11 million couples in China qualify to have a second child, and as a result of the policy relaxation, China saw 16.8 million new births last year—470,000 more than in 2013.
Still, low fertility rates and a rapidly aging population have called for further easing of the family planning policy.
In 2010, a photographer explored the effect of the “one child policy” on Chinese children, focusing on the alter-egos who acted as surrogates for the siblings they were denied.
By Maggie Wong