China's new policy 'won't cause baby boom'

China's new policy 'won't cause baby boom'

BEIJING - China will not see a baby boom in the short run, as the easing of its one-child policy will be phased in gradually, province by province, says a senior family planning official.

"(The) newborn population will increase in the next few years, (but) it will be equivalent to that of around 2000, so it is safe to say that the new birth policy will not be a problem," Mr Wang Peian, vice-minister of China's National Health and Family Planning Commission, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.

"The roll-out of the policy will not bring about great pressure to food security or social services like health care, education or jobs."

He was speaking after the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced last Friday that it would allow married couples to have a second child as long as either parent is a single child.

Currently, with the exception of ethnic minorities, the disabled and farmers whose first-born is a girl, only couples who are both single children can have more than one child.

This change to China's infamous one-child policy, which has affected the personal lives of millions and fuelled forced abortions and infanticide, generated the most buzz and discussion amid a series of ambitious reforms unveiled by the CCP.

Many cheered the relaxation of the much-criticised policy, which has been credited with more than 400 million fewer births since it was introduced in the 1970s.

"My son will have a companion," said a netizen named Ni Han on Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblog service.

Other parents said the high costs of bringing up a second child would make them think twice.

IT executive Deng Zhuo, 35, said he and his wife, who have a two-year-old son, are unsure if they would have a second child.

"Having two children is better in that my children will have companions, but I have to consider the costs," said Mr Deng.

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