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China new "Two Child" policy increases births by 7.9 percent, government says

BEIJING - In late 2015, China announced an end to its infamous 35-year-old “One Child” policy, which was aimed at curbing the exploding population of the nation of more than 1.3 billion people. 

Now, the initial data on the experiment to allow married couples to have two children has come in, and the Chinese government is touting it as a success.

New year, more babies for China 00:27

According to the Communist Party’s National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC,) there were 17.86 million births in China last year, an increase of 7.9 percent from the previous year.

“It demonstrates that the universal second-child policy came in time and worked effectively,” said Yang Wenzhuang, a division director of the NHFPC in a press release.

Like many countries with a low birth rate, China was concerned about how to care for its aging population, as there were a dearth of young worker to help support them, as well as a gross gender imbalance, because so many female babies were abandoned or aborted in the patriarchal society.

Experts warned the “Two Child” policy was “too little, too late” to reverse the trend.

The NHFPC claims, however, that their data proves otherwise.

In their press release, the NHFPC said that “by 2050, the policy is expected to bring about an extra 30 million working-age people and reduce the nation’s aging rate by 2 percent, commission projections show.”

However, the NHFPC said the Communist Party’s leaders need to come up with better policies to support couples willing to have more than one child, “particularly in terms of maternity education and health services.”

In a study published in the Lancet journal, professors Yi Zeng and Therese Hesketh warned that celebrating the policy change’s success should not begin yet.

The wrote: “The benefits of the new policy include: a large reduction in abortions of unapproved pregnancies, virtual elimination of the problem of unregistered children, and a more normal sex ratio. All of these effects should improve health outcomes. Effects of the new policy on the shrinking workforce and rapid population ageing will not be evident for two decades. In the meantime, more sound policy actions are needed to meet the social, health, and care needs of the elderly population.”

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