Thirty-five years after enacting draconian birth control rules blamed for millions of forced abortions and the creation of a demographic “timebomb”, China could be on the verge of introducing a two-child policy. The new regulation, under which all Chinese couples would be allowed to have two children, could be implemented “as soon as the end of the year if everything goes well”, a government source was quoted as saying by the China Business News.But the article also notes that:
Beijing quickly played down claims that the two-child policy would be in place by the end of the year. “No timetable has been set to allow all couples in the country to have a second child,” the national health and family planning commission insisted, according to the state-run China Daily.In all events, there is no evidence that couples are likely to respond with higher fertility, as I have noted before and as the article itself points out.
Liang Zhongtang, a demographer from the Shanghai Academy of Social Science, said the policy should have been abolished long ago..Liang said Beijing’s apparent decision to scrap the one-child policy was a positive and long overdue step. But even a full shift to a nationwide two-child policy would do little to reverse the demographic trends already set in place. “At the moment, many people are not willing to have more children, even if they are encouraged to do so. So in reality the government introducing the two-child policy still won’t have much of an impact,” he said.Of course, this won't be the last word. If the government really does abandon the one child policy next year, there will be widespread speculation about an impending baby boom in China.