Beijing weighs phasing out of one-child policy

Think tank: End birth limits by ’20

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Though the government credits the policy with preventing hundreds of millions of births and helping lift countless families out of poverty, it is reviled by many ordinary people.

The strict limits have led to forced abortions and sterilizations, even though such measures are illegal. Couples who flout the rules face hefty fines, seizure of their property and loss of their jobs.

Many demographers argue that the policy has worsened the country’s aging crisis by limiting the size of the young labor pool that must support the large baby-boom generation as it retires.

They say it has contributed to the imbalanced sex ratio by encouraging families to abort baby girls, preferring to try for a male heir.

The government recognizes those problems and has tried to address them by boosting social services for the elderly.

It also has banned sex-selective abortion and rewarded rural families whose only child is a girl.

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