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Thursday, October 29, 2015, 20:37

China to allow two children for all couples

By Xinhua

China to allow two children for all couples
Li Shuchun, 4, and his 7-month-old brother Li Shuhan, live in Beijing with their parents who are among the 1.07 million out of 11 million eligible couples applied to have a second child by the end of last year. (Photo by Wang Nina/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn)

BEIJING - China will allow all couples to have two children, abandoning its decades-long one-child policy, the Communist Party of China (CPC) announced after a key meeting on Thursday.

The change of policy is intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population, according to a communique issued after the fifth Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee held from Monday to Thursday.

The proposal must be approved by the top legislature before it is enacted.

China's family planning policy was first introduced in the late 1970s to rein in the surging population by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two children, if the first child born was a girl. The policy was later relaxed to say that any parents could have a second child if they were both only children.

The one-child policy was further loosened in November 2013 after the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, with its current form stipulating that couples are allowed to have two children if one of them is an only child.

EXTENDING OLD-AGE INSURANCE TO ALL

Leader also decided at the meeting that China will extend old-age insurance to its full population.

State-owned capital will be used to augment the existing social security fund, according to the communique.

Nearly 200 million Chinese are yet to be included in the country's old-age insurance scheme, said Yin Weimin, head of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in March.

The communique further vowed that "China will implement the critical illness insurance system in full scale," suggesting that this insurance will also be rolled out to the entire population.

As of the end of September 2014, about 650 million of the 1.3 billion Chinese were covered by critical illness insurance, preventing them from bankruptcy through medical bills.

The communique said China will "hold on to the path of development shared by all," working toward "development for the people, by the people and shared by the entire population."

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