Posts tagged ‘one-child policy’

30/12/2015

Top 10 policy changes in China in 2015

  1. Two children for all couples

China will allow all couples to have two children, abandoning its decades-long one-child policy, the Communist Party of China announced in late October. The change is intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population.

Under the new policy, couples who have two children can enjoy longer maternity leave and they could have more than two children if eligible. Current longer marriage and maternity leaves enjoyed by citizens who marry late and delay having children will be removed, and so will the rewards for couples who volunteer to have only one child.

The two-child policy will come into force on Jan 1.

2. Raising the retirement age

The 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) proposes progressively raising the retirement age to help address the country’s pension pressure and labor shortage.

On Nov 20, the Ministry of Human Resource and Social Security said raising the retirement age will be done progressively in small steps. The authority will raise the retirement age by several months every year, and the policy adjustment will be made public in advance. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security is drawing up the policy and will solicit public opinions on the completed draft.

In 2017, China should complete the integration of its two pension systems. From 2018, the retirement age for women should be raised one year every three years, and the retirement age for men should be raised one year every six years. This means in 2045, the retirement age for both men and women will be 65.

3. Household permits on the way for all

China will provide unregistered citizens with household registration permits, a crucial document entitling them to social welfare, according to a high–level reform meeting held in early December.

“It is a basic legal right for Chinese citizens to lawfully register for hukou. It’s also a premise for citizens to participate in social affairs, enjoy rights and fulfill duties,” said a statement released on Dec 9 after a meeting of the central leading group for comprehensively deepening reform.

The meeting was told that registration should take place regardless of family planning and other policy limits, and that those without hukou who face difficulties in applying should have their problems solved.

4. Unified pension system

The landmark pension reform plan, announced by the State Council on Jan 14, aims to eliminate the dual-track pension system in China.

New measures on old-age insurance were unveiled for the nearly 40 million workers in government agencies and public institutions, most of whom are civil servants, doctors, teachers and researchers. Insurance will now be paid by both workers and organizations, instead of just by organizations or central finance as in the past.

Before the measures were introduced, corporate employees had to pay for their own old-age insurance, while government staff enjoyed pensions without making any contribution at all. The reform helps to bring fairness and quench long-term public outcry.

5. Rural residents encouraged to buy properties in cities

China will roll out measures to reduce its property inventory and stabilize its ailing housing market, said a statement released on Dec 21 after a key policy meeting.

Rural residents relocating to urban areas should be allowed to register as city residents, which would enable them to buy or rent property, according to the conference.

In addition, a low-rent public housing program will cover those without household registration.

6. Harsher environmental protection law

China’s revised Environmental Protection Law came into effect on Jan 1, bringing with it heavier punishments.

According to the revised law, extra fines accumulating on a daily basis will be imposed on enterprises that fail to rectify violations.

Local officials may be demoted or sacked for misconduct, including the concealment of offenses, falsifying data, failing to publicize environmental data, and not giving closure orders to enterprises that illegally discharge pollutants.

7. Entrepreneurship encouraged among college students

The Ministry of Education announced in May that more than 30 measures would be introduced to support students starting their own businesses, and for innovation in scientific and academic research.

The measures are outlined in a series of guidelines released by the State Council, including developing and opening compulsory and selective courses for students, and awarding them credits for taking the courses.

Establishing innovation and entrepreneurship records, with transcripts for students, encouraging teachers to guide students in innovation and starting up businesses, and providing them with funds and supporting them to take part in entrepreneurship contests are also on the list.

8. New plan targets water pollution

China released the Action Plan for Water Pollution Prevention and Control on April 16 to tackle serious water pollution, aiming to intensify government efforts to reduce emissions of pollutants and to protect supplies.

The plan calls for 70 percent of the water in the country’s seven major river basins, including the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, to be in good condition by 2020, and for a continued improvement to 75 percent by 2030.

The amount of “black and smelly water” in urban areas will be reduced to 10 percent by 2020 and will largely disappear by 2030.

9. Toughest smoking ban in Beijing

A new regulation on tobacco use took effect in Beijing on June 1. The regulation extends existing smoking bans to include all indoor public areas and workplaces, plus a number of outdoor areas, including schools, seating areas in sports stadiums and hospitals where women or children are treated.

Violators will face fines of up to 200 yuan ($32), a twentyfold increase from the previous 10-yuan penalty stipulated by the previous regulation adopted in 1996. Owners of buildings classified as public places, such as restaurants, that fail to stop smokers lighting up face fines of up to 10,000 yuan.

Members of the public can report violations to the authorities by dialing a health hotline (12320) or via social media.

10. Price control on most medicines lifted

China has lifted price controls on most medicines since June 1 with the intention of creating a more market-driven pricing system that will help keep medical costs in check.

Only narcotics and some listed psychotropic drugs continue to be controlled by the government, with ceiling retail prices.

Public health departments must boost supervision on medical institutions and check improper medicine and medical equipment use, as well as excessive checkups and treatment, according to a notice issued in May.

From: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2015-12/28/content_22835045.htm

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02/11/2015

What Will the Two-Child Policy Mean for China’s Property Market? – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s latest move to scrap its one-child policy buoyed property developer stocks Friday on hopes it could provide a boost to housing demand.

All Chinese couples will be allowed to have two children, Chinese official media said Thursday, after a meeting of top officials. While a timetable hasn’t been established, there are prospects that an increase in the size of Chinese households could raise demand for larger homes.

Shanghai housewife Tracy Li said she and her husband will be looking for a larger home once their two sons, one aged four and one who is almost a year, get older. They currently live in a two-bedroom apartment in Shanghai’s Minhang district. Like many Chinese parents, she doesn’t think it’s necessary for each child to have their own room but want to be able to accommodate grandparents, who in China are frequently deeply involved in childcare.

“When the children are older, it’s not too good for them to share a bedroom with their grandparents when they come over,” said the 34-year-old Ms. Li, who asked to be referred to by her English, rather than her Chinese, name. Finding a home in a good school district will take some time, said Ms. Li, who wants to move before her oldest son reaches school age.

Source: What Will the Two-Child Policy Mean for China’s Property Market? – China Real Time Report – WSJ

13/07/2015

Tales of the unexpected | The Economist

WEIJIA is a typical Chinese seven-year-old. He loves riding his bike and anything to do with cars; he is a badminton fanatic and has lessons twice a week. In a few months’ time, however, he will become rather less typical. He will have a brother or sister—something most urban Chinese children lack.

His parents are taking advantage of a relaxation in November 2013 of the country’s strict family-planning rules. Couples are now allowed to have a second baby if one parent is an only child. After more than 35 years of often brutal enforcement of the one-child-per-couple policy, some had expected a mini baby-boom to follow. The National Health and Family Planning Commission estimated that the new rules would allow 11m more couples to have a second child (there were already exemptions for some). It thought that 2m of them would try in the first year. But by the end of 2014 fewer than 1.1m people had applied for the necessary permit.

 

That worries the government, which has tweaked the rules not out of sympathy for lonely only children or for parents who want a spare heir, but because of a population crunch. The country is ageing rapidly. In 2012 its labour pool shrank for the first time in 50 years. In the largest cities the fertility rate—meaning the number of children an average woman is likely to have during her lifetime—is among the lowest in the world, at around one. For the country as a whole it is less than 1.6—far below the level of 2.1 needed to keep the population steady (see chart).

The one-child policy did not curb Chinese fertility as much as its boosters imagine. By the time it was introduced in 1979, the fertility rate had already fallen to 2.8 from 5.8 in under a decade, thanks to usually less coercive efforts to encourage fewer births. Ruthless enforcement of the new policy resulted in widespread forced abortions and infanticide. It inflicted misery on parents who wanted larger families. But its overall impact on births was limited. In most countries, rising affluence has led to fewer babies. India’s fertility rate fell steadily over the same period without such formal policies, even though its economy did not grow nearly as fast as China’s. In wealthy South Korea the birth rate has fallen to 1.3 children per woman, down from six in 1960.

China’s authorities have now changed tack, from relentlessly proclaiming the virtues of having only one child to encouraging eligible couples to “procreate legally”. But they should not be surprised that this is failing to achieve the desired effect.

Since the 1980s rural families whose first child was a girl have been allowed to try for another. More recently, couples who are both single children have been allowed to have a second. Yet the uptake has been low. Academics, including Cai Yong of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, conducted a study in 2007-10 in the coastal province of Jiangsu. They found that among 2,500 urban and rural women they surveyed who were entitled to have a second child, only 6.5% did so. Ethnic minorities (nearly a tenth of the population), have long been allowed to have two or more. But on average each ethnic-minority woman bears only about 1.5 children, according to a census in 2010.

Mr Cai believes that rising incomes have been a big cause of shrinking family size. “Development is the best contraceptive,” he says. Births would have plummeted even without the one-child policy, he reckons, though not as fast or as low. Families worry about the expense of having babies: good education and health care are increasingly pricey. A study by Credit Suisse in 2013 found that couples typically spend over 22,500 yuan ($3,600) a year to raise a child to the age of 18. That is more than three-quarters of the average annual disposable income per person of urban households. A government report in 2015 said that in the first five years of a child’s life, city parents spend twice as much as rural ones, even before the high cost of urban housing is included—particularly near the best schools (see article).

Chinese families want their offspring not only to get a good education, but also to gain an edge in the global jobs market. Hence Weijia’s parents spend nearly 15% of their annual income just on classes for him, including weekly English lessons. Over half of children under six take extra classes in addition to those at kindergarten, according to IResearch, a Chinese market-research company.

Grandparents help to reduce the cost of child care (they often live with their grown-up children). But since people marry and have children later than they used to, the age of live-in grandparents is rising too; fewer are sprightly enough to deal with two children. It has become so common in China to have only one child that society is no longer geared to handle multiple offspring: hotel rooms for two children cannot be booked online (parents must call); play vehicles in parks seat two adults and one youngster; toothbrush-holders in family bathrooms often have space for just three brushes.

Decades of propaganda about the benefits of single children have changed the way parents think, says Wang Feng of the University of California, Irvine. A belief that China has too many people is widely shared, as is a conviction that the country would have been far worse off without the one-child policy. Many Chinese are surprisingly willing to blame the country’s terrible traffic and its air and water pollution on overpopulation, rather than bad planning. Having just one child still has the whiff of the patriotic about it.

The government’s next step may be to allow all couples to have two children. There is much speculation that the country’s parliament will approve this next year. Family-planning bureaucrats still fret about what might happen if restrictions were to be lifted. But the same factors of cost and hassle will continue to suppress the birth rate, regardless of how fast the policy is adjusted. Growing numbers of young Chinese people now prefer not to marry or have children at all.

via Tales of the unexpected | The Economist.

02/08/2014

With End of China’s One-Child Policy, There Hasn’t Been a Baby Boom – Businessweek

Last November, China announced the loosening of its restrictive one-child population policy: Couples would soon be permitted to have two children so long as one parent was an only child. Government planners predicted that roughly half of China’s 11 million eligible couples would chose to have a second child within five years, and investors predicted a boom in sales of diapers, baby formula, and educational toys in China.

Why China's Second-Baby Boom Might Not Happen

The policy change has been rolled out in 29 of China’s 33 provinces and regions, yet by the end of May only 271,000 applications for permission to have a second child had been submitted. Many came from older mothers concerned not to lose their chance. At an agency in Beijing’s Tuanjiehu neighborhood that connects parents with maternity nannies, staff said that the majority of requests pertaining to second children came from women in their late 30s.

Six months into the new policy is still too early to judge the ultimate impact. But experts now express more modest expectations. “Every metric thus far indicates the loosening isn’t leading to a baby boom,” says Mei Fong, author of a forthcoming book on China’s population policies. With rising costs of urban living, Chinese couples are deliberately limiting family size for reasons similar to those depressing fertility in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Western countries.

via With End of China’s One-Child Policy, There Hasn’t Been a Baby Boom – Businessweek.

01/08/2014

China’s Girl Births Ratio Improves as Country Gets More Educated – Businessweek

Priscilla Yang is standing outside Tuanjiehu Beijing Maternity Hospital, her husband dutifully holding aloft a purple umbrella to shield her from the blazing July sun. The 27-year-old is eight months pregnant and feeling relieved: Her latest rounds of prenatal tests came back normal.

Yang doesn’t know, but wonders about, the gender of her child. A college-educated public-relations executive, Yang says she hasn’t tried to wheedle illicit information from the maternity hospital staff. Boy or girl, “both are OK,” she says. “What I care most about is that the baby is healthy.”

Yang’s indifference about gender is becoming more common, though the struggle has been long. It has been illegal in China since 2001 for doctors to reveal the sex of the fetus to expectant parents. When ultrasound technology became widely available in the late 1980s, the number of sex-selective abortions shot up. Traditional Chinese culture prized sons, who performed heavy labor on farms and were expected to inherit land and stay home to care for elderly parents. Daughters left their parents’ household to join their husband’s after marriage. The one-child policy, announced in 1980 and enacted nationally within a few years, only intensified the desire for sons. Even after the 2001 law, many Chinese parents managed to bribe poorly paid doctors to see ultrasound results—then chose to abort female fetuses.

via China’s Girl Births Ratio Improves as Country Gets More Educated – Businessweek.

24/05/2014

China’s 430 Million Families Shrink and Age – Businessweek

China’s families keep shrinking in size, says a new report by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, released earlier this month.

Retired Chinese women practice Tai Chi at a park in Haikou city, south China Hainan province on March 25

It’s well known that the One-Child Policy played a key role in radically reducing the size of China’s households, which have shrunk from an average of 5.3 members in the 1950s to just 3.02 in 2012. (The numbers were 3.96 and 3.10 in 1990 and 2010, respectively.)

But that longtime policy restriction has not been the main driver in recent years, according to the China Family Development Report 2014. Instead, internal migration and changing social norms have been bigger contributors to the phenomenon in recent years. (That also means last year’s loosening of the family planning regulation isn’t going to reverse the smaller household phenomenon.)

By 2010, China had 160 million households made up of either one or two people. That’s 40 percent of the total number of households, a proportion that rose from 25 percent of the total in 2000. Over the same decade, the number of single person households doubled, and those of two people went up by 68 percent, according to the commission.

So what’s driving the surge in little families? In the cities it has a lot to do with young people waiting longer to get married. “A growing number of well-educated people now decide to marry at a later age because of their careers,” the China Daily reported, citing the survey. “Changing attitudes toward marriage also prompted many to stay single.”

As China’s population rapidly ages, more and more families are elderly. China now has 88 million families made up of people over 65, about one-fifth of the total, the report says. That reverses the longtime Chinese custom of older parents living with their children. With some 300 million rural migrant workers living far from their hometowns, the problem is particularly acute in the countryside—that is contributing to a growing problem of poverty among the elderly.

via China’s 430 Million Families Shrink and Age – Businessweek.

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02/03/2014

Chinese Employers Discriminate Against Women Planning to Have Two Children – Businessweek

Late last year, China’s central government announced reforms to the controversial one-child policy—in particular, approving a resolution that would allow couples to have two children if at least one of the parents was an only child. But the change didn’t go into effect instantly; implementation is controlled locally. On Tuesday, Shanghai’s government approved measures to enact the so-called two-child policy, effective March 1. Shanghai is the seventh region in China to adopt guidelines for reforming, not abolishing, the country’s sprawling population-control bureaucracy.

To some extent, the number of children couples can have—and when they can have them—will vary by city. Shanghai’s policies are more liberal than Beijing’s, where new guidelines took hold last Friday. Shanghai parents qualified to have two children can do so regardless of their own ages or the time between births. But Beijing parents with one child must wait until the mother turns 28, or the first child turns 4, before having a second child, as independent newsmagazine Caijing reported.

China’s relaxed birth-control policies also bring unexpected consequences. According to state-run Global Times, some female job applicants are already facing increased hiring discrimination as potential employers appear reluctant to pay for two maternity leaves. “An interviewer asked me if I was going to have two children, and I did not know how to answer,” one young woman in Zhejiang province told the newspaper. “Having children is also making a contribution to society, but they [potential employers] treat us like enemies, which is so unfair.”

via Chinese Employers Discriminate Against Women Planning to Have Two Children – Businessweek.

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09/01/2014

Chinese Director Zhang Yimou Fined $1.2 Million for Violating One-Child Policy – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Chinese Internet users often bemoan the fact that China’s wealthy are able to easily skirt the country’s one-child policy by simply paying the fines. But local officials appear to be making a point when it comes to one high-profile offender.

Chinese film director Zhang Yimou and his wife , Chen Ting, were fined 7.48 million yuan ($1.2 million) by the family planning bureau of Binhu district in the eastern city of Wuxi for having three children, the district government said on its verified account on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

The district government said the fine was based on Ms. Chen and Mr. Zhang’s personal income in each of the three years before their children were born (2000, 2003 and 2005)—a total of 3.58 million yuan ($591,000). Aside from exceeding family planning limits, the couple wasn’t married at the time of the births, according to the family-planning bureau.

via Chinese Director Zhang Yimou Fined $1.2 Million for Violating One-Child Policy – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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13/12/2013

Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou faces billion-yuan lawsuit over children | South China Morning Post

Top Chinese film director Zhang Yimou is facing a billion-yuan lawsuit after violating the country’s controversial one-child policy, state media reported on Friday.

china_zhang_yimou.jpg

Zhang’s case has brought renewed debate over what critics say is the selective enforcement of China’s late-1970s family-planning law, which restricts most couples to one child but is frequently flouted by the wealthy and well-connected.

Two lawyers filed a lawsuit Thursday in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi, the hometown of Zhang’s wife, suing the director of Red Sorghum and Raise the Red Lantern for a total of one billion yuan (HK$1.26 billion).

“The rich have become increasingly audacious by violating the family planning policy just because they are rich enough to pay the fine … and they take an extra share of resources from society,” one of the lawyers, Jia Fangyi, said in a statement reported by state-run newspaper China Daily.

“It’s unfair to the poor and those who strictly follow the national policy,” he added

The two lawyers are claiming 500 million yuan in “compensation for public resources” and another 500 million yuan in punitive damages, the China Daily said.

Zhang, one of China’s best-known filmmakers and the director of the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had faced rumours for months that he had fathered as many as seven children with several different women.

Amid increasing pressure – including a Nanjing newspaper’s publication last month of a front-page “wanted” poster seeking information on his whereabouts – Zhang finally issued an apology on Sunday through his studio’s microblogging account.

He acknowledged that he has two sons and a daughter with his current wife, as well as another daughter with his ex-wife.

Chinese media reports have speculated that Zhang could face a penalty as high as 160 million yuan (over $25 million), but authorities have not released any figures.

via Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou faces billion-yuan lawsuit over children | South China Morning Post.

03/12/2013

With Glut of Lonely Men, China Has an Approved Outlet for Unrequited Lust – NYTimes.com

Slack-jawed and perspiring, Chen Weizhou gazed at a pair of life-size female dolls clad, just barely, in lingerie and lace stockings. Above these silicone vixens, an instructional video graphically depicted just how realistic they felt once undressed.

The one-child rule is a factor in China’s gender imbalance.

A 46-year-old tour bus driver, Mr. Chen had come earlier this month to the Guangzhou National Sex Culture Festival “for fun,” which was not how he described intimacy with his wife, who did not attend. “When you’re young sex is so mysterious, but once you’re married it gets really bland,” he said, barely taking his eyes off the screen.

With an official theme of “healthy sex, happy families,” the 11th annual exposition sought to remedy the plight of Chinese men like Mr. Chen — and their wives, if they are married.

The overwhelming presence of men at the festival mirrored a demographic imbalance in China, where decades of the one-child rule and a cultural preference for sons combined with illegal sex-selective abortions have distorted the country’s gender ratio to 118 newborn boys for every 100 girls in 2012, rather than the normal 103 boys. In Guangdong Province, home to a migrant worker population of 30 million — China’s largest — the scarcity of women leaves bachelors with limited options.

Filling an exhibition center here in the capital of Guangdong in southern China, the festival was a three-day mating ritual between capitalism and hedonism, all diligently observed by that most prudish of chaperones: the Chinese government. Erotic possibilities abounded, including a transgender fashion show, sliced deer antler marketed as an aphrodisiac, naughty nurse costumes and some flesh-color objects disconcertingly called “Captain Stabbing.”

via With Glut of Lonely Men, China Has an Approved Outlet for Unrequited Lust – NYTimes.com.

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