Beijing must brace itself for baby boom, legislators say

Beijing must brace itself for baby boom, legislators say

Beijing lawmakers and sociologists urged the government on Friday to prepare for a possible baby boom after the capital relaxes its family planning policy next year.

A draft amendment to Beijing's family planning policy was delivered for its first review on Friday. If it is approved, city couples with one parent as an only child will be eligible to have a second child starting in March at the earliest.

Beijing's revision echoes a national-level decision to relax the one-child policy across the country, announced by the Communist Party of China last month. Local governments were asked at that time to set their own timetable for a relaxation of the policy.

The capital's draft amendment is scheduled for a second review under legislative procedures in February.

"The proposed revision will maintain a balanced population development in the city," said Liu Zhi, director of Beijing Commission of Population and Family Planning.

The Standing Committee of Beijing People's Congress confirmed a baby boom will occur within three years if the new rule goes into effect.

Sun Shichao, a member of the committee, said on Friday that the government should conduct more studies on a possible baby boom.

Zhang Xiufang, deputy director of the committee's office responsible for the family planning policy, agreed with Sun, saying the city government should think about how to prepare for the flood of eligible couples applying for a second child when the rule is relaxed.

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