China’s leaders have sent another signal that they will soon scrap limits on the number of children parents are able to have by publishing a draft civil code with no mention of the controversial policy, Caixin reports.
The new civil code, which could come into force as early as 2020, would replace existing laws that specifically mention family planning. The current marriage law stipulates that “both husband and wife have the obligation to implement family planning,” while the adoption law states that “adoptions must not violate family planning laws and regulations.”
The government explained the omissions as necessary “to adapt to new changes in China’s demographic situation.”
Speculation has been growing for months that Beijing is likely to further loosen birth limits in the near future. China scrapped its one-child policy in 2016, allowing parents legally to have two children for the first time since the 1970s.
The one-child policy is widely blamed for China’s rapidly aging population, which is already acting as a drag on economic growth. The move to a two-child policy was intended to mitigate the country’s demographic issues by raising the birth rate, but did not make as significant a difference as expected.