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China paves way to end family planning policy – state media

FILE PHOTO: An elderly woman pushes two babies in a stroller in Beijing, China October 30, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) – China, the world’s most populous nation, appears to be setting the stage to end its decades-long policy of determining the number of children that couples can have, a social media post by a state-run newspaper suggested.

All content on family planning has been dropped in a draft civil code being deliberated by top lawmakers on Monday, the Procuratorate Daily wrote in a post on its Weibo account.

China has loosened its family planning policy as its population greys, birth rates slow and its workforce declines. In 2016, the government allowed couples in urban areas to have two children, replacing a one-child policy enforced since 1979.

The draft civil code also includes a one-month “cooling off” period in which couples filing for divorce can withdraw their case.

Revisions to the draft civil code will be submitted to China’s annual parliamentary meeting in March 2020.

Speculation that China may further ease its two-child policy was sparked early this month when China Post unveiled the design of a stamp for release next year that features a family of two pigs and three cheerful piglets.

Debate on the policy was further stoked after two Chinese researchers proposed forcing couples with fewer than two children to pay into a “procreation fund”, an idea that was widely criticized.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Michael Perry) 

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