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China: No Immediate Plan to Delete Family Planning from Laws

(Feb. 25, 2019) In a response to a suggestion raised by the National People’s Congress (NPC) delegates, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) states there is no plan to delete references to “family planning” from Chinese laws. The Response, dated September 25, 2018, was published on the NHC website on January 8, 2019. (NHC, Response to the Suggestion from the First Session of the 13th NPC No. 1949, Jan. 8, 2019, NHC website (in Chinese); Qiu Renyu, China Signals That It Won’t Scrap Birth Restrictions, CAIXIN (Feb. 13, 2019).)

According to the Response, when the Chinese Constitution was amended on March 11, 2018, relevant statements such as “the state promotes family planning” remained unchanged. The Population and Family Planning Law and other relevant laws were made in accordance with the Constitution, and therefore “it is not appropriate to completely delete ‘family planning’ immediately.” (Id.)

China ended its decades-long “one-child policy” and replaced it with a “two-child policy” in 2015. (Laney Zhang, China: Two-Child Policy and Law, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Nov. 5, 2015).) Effective January 1, 2016, the revised Population and Family Planning Law provides that the state advocates that every married couple have two children, and that more children may be allowed where the requirements specified by laws and regulations are met. (Population and Family Planning Law (adopted by the NPC Standing Committee on Dec. 29, 2001, amended Dec. 27, 2015, effective Jan. 1, 2016), NPC website (in Chinese); Laney Zhang, China: Two-Child Policy Becomes Law, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Jan. 8, 2016).)

According to China’s domestic media, the calls for further changes to the family planning policy grew stronger after China had a historic drop in births in the year 2018, when there were two million fewer births compared with 2017. (Qiu, supra.)