Beijing: The Chinese Government, on one of its landmark policy changes, issued a change in their long-run two-child policy, allowing couples to have up to three children. The decision was taken by the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party headed by Xi Jinping.
"To actively respond to the ageing of the population … a couple can have three children," state media Xinhua reported on Monday.
The decision was on account of the alarming decline in the birth rate and the subsequent increase in the population of people older than fifty. China's fertility rate is currently at 1.3, below the needed level to maintain a stable population. In 2015, the Chinese government changed its policy from one-child to two-child due to the same reasons.
The decision has drawn flak on social media with the hashtag #Here-comes-the-three-child-policy drawing 3 billion views, with many noting it arrived too little and too late.
"It's outdated. What China needs is not another state policy, but rather a better and fairer society," said Prof Wang Feng of University of California Irvine regarding the birth control policy, as reported by The Guardian.
Some have also raised doubts about the impact of the updated policy. "The relaxation may not achieve as much as the authorities would have anticipated. It's too costly to raise a child these days, and housing is not cheap in China," said He Yafu, an independent demographer in Guangzhou.
However, Prof Stuart Gietel-Baten from the Hong Kong University of science and technology appreciated the move. He said, "It removes a clear inconsistency in the narrative surrounding the concerns over low fertility with restrictions on births at the same time. It will also be an important step in further stamping out illegal actions on women's bodies [e.g. sterilisation and abortion] sanctioned by some local officials."
Authorities experimented with the three-child policy in the northeastern Chinese province of Heilongjiang before the announcement, with a few experts remarking that the result was less effective than expected.