08/30/2018, 11.27
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New Chinese Civil Code signals end of birth restrictions

by Wang Zhicheng

It would signal the end of "one child" or "two children". The concerns of the leadership: shrinking workforce, rise in social expenditure for pensions and health due to the aging of the population. Change in the constitution too. However, many families think that having children is "too expensive".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - As already announced months ago by AsiaNews, the Chinese government seems increasingly determined to list all birth restrictions amid concern over about its aging population.

A draft of the new Civil Code, this being discussed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, has removed any mention of population control (family planning) the laws on marriage and adoption. The People's Daily, the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party, in an article of August 28th emphasizes that "content linked to birth control" has been deleted.

The lifting of limits on births would be an important change for the Chinese society that has had the one-child rule for all families since 1979. This led to violence, abortion and forced sterilization, along with huge demographic imbalances: 400 million unborn children; imbalances in the ratio between males and females, with the lack of about 40 million women; psychological problems for only children called "little emperors".

To overcome these problems, in 2016 Xi Jinping put a limit of two children per couple, even if the new indications did not lead to a hoped increase in population.

What is driving the Chinese leadership to clear the mandatory family planning is the reduction of the workforce - resulting in higher wages - and the aging of the population creates problems related to health care and retirement.

A study by the 2017 State Council shows that in 2030 about 25% of the Chinese population will be 60 or more years old. For the World Health Organization, a society begins to age when over-65s exceed 7% of the entire population. Aging, in addition to increasing social spending, also creates a slowdown in creativity and innovation, making the economy less competitive. Many demographers point to Japan, which has been stagnant for decades and has one of the oldest populations in the world.

The new Civil Code, which is under study, is due to be launched by 2020. Some experts note that it the family planning requirements should also be removed from the Chinese constitution, otherwise the civil laws have no power.

But above all, there is a need to relaunch the value of life and of having children: ​​once in traditional culture this was a precious event; today, after decades of limitations and the drive to enrichment, many families prefer not to have children because they are "too expensive".

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