On Monday, the Chinese government announced that it would be revising one of its most controversial national policies by allowing families to have up to three children, according to the Daily Wire.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s declaration comes “amid concerns that the country’s declining birth rate has it headed for a population crash,” as the New York Times first reported. The CCP first implemented the notorious “one-child policy” in 1979 in order to control what was then a rapidly-increasing population, with couples only allowed to have a second child under extremely rare circumstances. In 2015, China updated the policy to two children per couple.
The sudden change is reflective of China’s falling fertility rate, which is currently at 1.3 children per family, below the government’s target rate of 2.1 children per family. At the same time, the current population of China consists mostly of elderly citizens, with the potential for not nearly enough younger citizens to take care of them.
However, despite the significant shift, there is still skepticism among the population towards having anymore children in an unstable economic system such as China’s. There are still no government incentives to have children or to support a family as large as five, including maternity and family leave policies. As an “independent demographer” told the Times, “merely opening up the policy to three children and not encouraging births as a whole, I don’t think there will be a significant increase in the fertility rate.”
The new policy also represents China’s priorities in trying to get their population numbers back up; the new three-child policy only applies to ethnic Chinese citizens. Meanwhile, the CCP is still rounding up and imprisoning some of the nation’s most prominent ethnic minorities, including Uyghur Muslims, putting them in concentration camps where they must undergo forced sterilization.