01/12/2015, 00.00
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Beijing, more than 30 thousand families ask to have a second child

After the relaxation of the infamous one-child law, passed in 2013, the capital has seen a surge of requests. The numbers, analysts said, "are still low but will grow." By the end of 2015 China will touch 1.38 billion inhabitants.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - More than 30 thousand families living in the Chinese capital  applied to have a second child during 2014. The data were presented by a recent Beijing Health and Family Planning Commission report, a year after the relaxation of the infamous "one-child law" in force in China since the late seventies.

Municipal officials estimate the new relaxation will lead to about 270,700 new births over the next five years, or 54,200 per year. Experts said the lower birth rate of second children was "because most families still observed the one-child policy", The Beijing News reported.

Of the 30,305 families who have applied for a second child, 28,778 received a positive response. 97% of couples are aged between 26 and 40 years, and every month of 2014 saw between 2 and 3 thousand applications. According to the Commission, thanks to the new family planning policy, China's population is expected to reach 1.38 billion people by the end of 2015.

From 1979 onwards, China has - often violently - implemented the policy of one child per family, to focus on the nation's economic development. As a result only ethnic groups and farmers are allowed to have a second child if the first child was a girl. Implementation of the law has often been violent, with exorbitant fines against violators, and even forced sterilization and abortions up to nine months of pregnancy. Family planning officials were often rewarded for ensuring that the law and population quotas were respected opening the door to corruption and abuse of power.

The easing of the norm was launched in December 2013.  It allows couples in which one partner is already an only child, to have two children. In any case, the new policy still remains limited even from the geographical point of view: its benefits will go only to the inhabitants of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing and those of the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Anhui, Sichuan, Guangdong and Jiangsu.


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