China shuts family planning offices to counter ageing population

in an effort to counter an ageing population, China’s health commission has done away with three offices that were previously dedicated to family planning.

State-media has hinted in recent weeks that China, the world’s most populous nation, may be preparing to end its decades long policy. Last month, China Post unveiled a new stamp featuring a family of two pigs with three cheerful piglets, followed weeks later by a draft of the civil code dropping all mention of family planning.

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Three offices responsible for grass roots implementation of family planning policies have been removed from the new structure of China’s National Health Commission, according to an announcement from the commission.

Instead, a new office for ‘population monitoring and family development’ will be responsible for ‘improving birth policy and to organize implementation, and to establish and improve the system of extraordinary family assistance for family planning.’

The commission retains responsibility for ‘family planning management and facilitation work’ and for the ‘improvement of family planning policy,’ it said.

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‘Family planning’ was dropped from the commission’s name in March, as part of a sweeping government overhaul to reform government departments and reduce policy making red tape.

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 controversial one-child rule enforced since 1979.

As of 2017, people aged 60 and above accounted for about 16.2% of China’s population, compared to 7.4% in 1950, according to the U.N. Population Division.

Bloomberg reported in May that China was planning to scrap all limits on the number of children a family can have by the end of 2018.

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