China plans to ease 'strict' 'one-child' family planning rules
China is planning to bring changes in its strict one-child policy, a former family planning official has said.
Proposed changes would allow for urban couples to have a second child, even if one of the parents is themselves not an only child, the China Daily quoted Zhang Weiqing, the former head of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, as saying.
Current rules allow urban couples to have a second child if both parents do not have siblings.
Looser restrictions on rural couples means many have more than one child.
According to the New York Daily News, population scholars have cited mounting demographic challenges in their calls for reform of the strict policy, introduced in 1979 to limit births in China, which now has 1.34 billion people.
Zhang said the commission and other population research institutes have submitted policy recommendations to the government.
Zhang, who serves on China's congressional advisory body, said any changes if adopted would be gradual.
"China's population policy has always taken into account demographic changes but any fine-tuning to the policy should be gradual and consider the situation in different areas," the report quoted him, as saying.
The report said that the relaxed policy might be implemented first in 'economically productive regions' and places that have followed closely existing regulations.