Chinese province to allow all citizens to have unlimited children

Chinese children, photo by NPR.

Amid China’s spiralling crisis with an ageing population and shrinking workforce, one province is making some drastic policy changes.

Starting on Wednesday, February 15, the western Chinese province of Sichuan will allow all citizens, including unmarried couples, to register as many children as they want. The province has over 83 million people.

While current policies don’t explicitly ban unmarried women from giving birth in China, unmarried people who want to register their children’s births often have to pay heavy fines to have their children registered for education and social services.

Meanwhile, married couples are allowed to register the births of up to two children.

Until 2016, China still had its highly controversial one-child policy in place. Families that violated the policy were fined, and sometimes even fired from their jobs.

These policies, combined with China’s strong preference for boys over girls, resulted in many forced abortions in China.

The restrictions on the number of children in China ended up causing a massive decline in birth rates, which China is now trying to reverse. Last year, deaths outnumbered births for the first time in China.

On top of the declining birth rates, the country is still facing Covid-related deaths.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it a priority to up China’s birth rate. In addition to the new policies on children, the government has also offered tax breaks and better maternal healthcare to reverse or slow the falling rates.

China is certainly not the only country facing a problem with declining birth rates. Neighbouring Japan faces a similar issue. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that his country is on the brink of not being able to function and that it is a case of “now or never.”

As with many countries, both China and Japan have a growing elderly population, and a shrinking number of workers to support them.

China News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

Related Articles