China Economic Review

China axes family-planning departments as birth-limit reform looms

China plans to merge three departments tasked with pushing forward the government’s family-planning policies into one new branch, the Wall Street Journal reports. The move could indicate that Beijing is moving toward a further easing of the country’s birth limits.

The new Population Monitoring and Family Development Department will take on the remit of the previous agencies, the National Health Commission said.

China ended its one-child policy in 2016 in favour of a two-child limit in an attempt to increase the country’s birth rate, but the results have not lived up to expectations. Only 1.3 million more babies were born in the year following the debut of the new policy, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, less than half the government’s target.

China faces the threat of population crisis brought about by an aging population with a lack of young people to support them. Some analysts believe that limits could be abolished entirely as early as the end of 2018.