China stamp hints at relaxation of two-child policy

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BEIJING: A new “pig family” postal stamp has stoked debate about whether China may further loosen its family planning policy next year as couples delay parenthood and the world’s most populous nation greys.
China Post, on its official website on Monday, unveiled the design of a stamp due for release in 2019 — the Year of Pig. The design features a family of two smiling pigs and their three cheerful piglets.
Many Chinese took the design as a sign the government is seeking to promote a bigger family size, according to posts on social media.
China allowed urban couples to have two children in 2016, replacing the one-child policy in place since 1979. The policy change was preceded by a stamp design with a zodiac theme four months earlier that portrayed a monkey family with two baby monkeys.
“Judging from the new stamp design, you can tell China will definitely encourage people to have three kids in 2019,” a user with the handle of Sven Shi wrote on China’s microblogging website Weibo.
As of 2017, people aged 60 and above accounted for 16.2% of China’s population, compared to 7.4% in 1950, according to UN Population Division.
While the one-child policy successfully lowered China’s population growth below the world average, Chinese policymakers have become wary of falling birth rates and a rapidly growing aging population.
In 2017, a year after the twochild policy was adopted, the National Health Commission said the number of new born babies in the country was 17.58 million, 12% below the national forecast. But some users remain sceptical of further relaxing birth controls, saying inadequate social security and slowing income growth may continue to discourage bigger families.

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