China launches projects to build 'new-era' marriage, childbearing culture

China implemented a rigid one-child policy from 1980 until 2015 - the root of many of its demographic challenges. The limit has since been raised to three children

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Farah Master

China will launch pilot projects in more than 20 cities to create a “new-era” marriage and childbearing culture to foster a friendly child bearing environment, the latest move by authorities to boost the country’s falling birth rate. China’s Family Planning Association, a national body that implements the population and fertility measures, will launch the projects to encourage women to marry and have children, state backed Global Times reported on Monday.
Promoting marrying, having children at appropriate ages, encouraging parents to share child-rearing responsibilities, and curbing high “bride prices,” and other outdated customs are the focus of the projects, Global Times said. Cities included in the pilot include the manufacturing hub Guangzhou and Handan in China’s Hebei province. The association already launched projects in 20 cities including Beijing last year, Global Times said. 
The projects come amid a flurry of measures Chinese provinces are rolling out to spur people to have children, including tax incentives, housing subsidies, and free or subsidised education for having a third child.
China implemented a rigid one-child policy from 1980 until 2015 — the root of many of its demographic challenges. The limit has since been raised to three children. 
Concerned about China’s first population drop in six decades and its rapid ageing, political advisers proposed that single and unmarried women should have access to egg freezing and IVF treatment, among other services to boost the fertility rate. Many women have been put off having more children or any due to the expense of child care and having to stop their careers, with gender discrimination still a hurdle.

Beijing jails 78-yr-old American for life on espionage charges 

A 78-year-old US citizen and Hong Kong resident was on Monday convicted of espionage and sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in eastern China, a court statement said.
John Shing-wan Leung was also stripped of his political rights after a brief trial on Monday, the Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court said. 

A US embassy spokesperson said that it was aware of the case, but due to privacy considerations had no further comment.

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First Published: May 15 2023 | 11:10 PM IST

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