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China signals end to limits on child births by 2020 at latest

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China's Parliament struck "family planning" policies from the latest draft of a sweeping civil code slated for adoption in 2020, the clearest signal yet that the leadership is moving to end limits on the number of children families can have.

[BEIJING] China's Parliament struck "family planning" policies from the latest draft of a sweeping civil code slated for adoption in 2020, the clearest signal yet that the leadership is moving to end limits on the number of children families can have.

A new draft of the Civil Code submitted on Monday to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress removed all "family planning-related content", according a report published on Tuesday in the Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper. That would suggest that the decades-old birth restrictions wouldn't be enforced after the law goes into effect, since the code is intended to govern all aspects of private life from contracts to company registrations to marriages.

Bloomberg News reported in May that the country was planning to scrap birth limits as soon as this year. It would be a landmark end to a much criticised policy - one of history's biggest social experiments - that left the world's most-populous nation with a worker shortage and an ageing population comprised of 30 million fewer women than men.

Such demographic trends have weighed on President Xi Jinping's efforts to develop China's economy, driving up pension and healthcare costs and sending foreign companies looking elsewhere for labour. China's State Council last year projected that about a quarter of its population will be 60 or older by 2030 - up from 13 per cent in 2010.

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