Weakening of China’s one-child policy is predicted

China’s government has declared it will maintain its one-child policy, but at the same time stripped power from the family planning agency that oversees the regime.

“The way to interpret this is that the laws are still in effect, but the judges and the policemen have all been fired,” said Wang Feng, director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy in Beijing. “Soon the laws will also change.”

In a move that may signal a future weakening of the policy, the State Council, China’s Cabinet, said it proposed to merge the existing Ministry of Health with the National Population and Family Planning Commission.

“Saying that there is no change is a measure to save face and a recognition that they can’t announce all the change in one day,” said Wang.

“The National Population and Family Planning Commission was created for a single mandate of controlling population growth and now they no longer have that, those powers have been dissolved.

“What the government is doing is a major political move and they cannot make or announce all the policy changes that go along with it in one day. They know they can’t dismantle everything all at once. It’s going to take some time.

“It will not take long, however, for change to come. Leaders are aware of the changing demographics. The one-child policy has taken a toll on the labor force and has jeopardised the future economy….

“The family planning commission employs more than 500,000 people and it will be difficult to change this bureaucracy and what it has done for so many years.

“The people employed within the system are going to be redundant and many of them will likely leave, enabling a shifting of resources to the Ministry of Health. Those resources can be used to invest in reproductive health,” Wang said.

“This is going to be an extremely difficult process.”



Wall Street Journal

Image: China Mike

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