China: a province lifts birth control
Sichuan, one of the most populous provinces in China, will lift birth restrictions next month to encourage the birth rate amid a demographic crisis, local authorities announced on Monday.
For the first time since the 1960s, China saw its population decline last year, which could weigh heavily on its competitiveness and its pension system, according to analysts.
This fall in the birth rate is partly linked to the costs of living and raising a child, which have risen sharply in China.
To encourage couples to procreate, Beijing has put an end to in 2016 to its one-child policy and since 2021 has authorized families to have a maximum of three children. With a mixed result.
The province of Sichuan (Southwest), which has more than 80 million inhabitants, announced Monday lifting the limit of three children per couple in force elsewhere in the country.
The measure will be effective from February 15 for a period of five years, said the local Health Commission.
Birth registration in Sichuan will also no longer be conditional on a marriage certificate .
In China, children born out of wedlock have long struggled to find a legal existence, while their parents have been fined heavily. But a certain easing has been observed in recent years.
Number of cities and provinces have also launched measures in recent months to encourage births.
The metropolis of Shenzhen ( South) thus offers a birth bonus and allowances paid until the child is three years old.
In the province of Shandong (East), 158 days of maternity leave (60 more than the national standard) are possible, starting with the first child.
China, which currently has 1.4 billion people, could have just 587 million by 2100, according to projections the most pessimistic of demographers.