Experts call for accelerated removal of China’s 2nd child policy

World Today

Despite a relaxation of China’s one-child policy, surprisingly few couples are choosing to have a second child.
Some experts are calling for an accelerated removal of restrictions on a second child, warning that the country’s birthrate is moving towards a dangerously low level.
Wu Guoxiu filed this report from Beijing.

For some families in China, the more children the merrier may not be an option worth considering.

A poll taken place in five provinces in China, including Guangdong, Shanghai and Beijing showed it doesn’t matter if families already had a child, over 30 percent said they wouldn’t have a second child.

Across China, only one million eligible families applied to have a second child under the newly relaxed policy, just a third of the number authorities had expected.

“A lot of women working in high-competitive jobs look like they are less likely to have a second child,” Professor Zheng ZhenZhen of the Chinese Academy of Social Science’s Institute of population and labor statistics said.

Yun Na is a working mom, expected to have her second child in two months.

She is worried about balancing work with being a mother.

“I grew up alone. So I always wanted two children. Two is definitely harder to manage. My husband and I both work. I can’t afford to quit my job,” Na said. “So the only way is if I continue going to work and my parents come to care for them, while I’m out all day.”

A report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, also known as CASS, said the fertility rate in China is at a dangerously low level, at 1.4 children per woman.

This number is close to the global warning of a low fertility trap, which could result in an ageing population and a labor shortage. Experts are calling on the government to fully lift all restrictions to have a second child, and the sooner the better, along with adjusting the family planning policy even more.

“Maybe if we remove the birth-control policy, there will be more birth in a couple of years, it looks like a disadvantage in a short time, but it will make the population more balanced in the age structure in the long run, so it will benefit our economic development,” ZhenZhen said.