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China: Provincial Family Planning Regulations Amended Allowing More Couples to Have a Second Child

(Aug. 6, 2014) In the first half of 2014, Chinese provinces have been amending their family planning regulations to allow married couples in which one parent is an only child themselves to have a second child. The previous rules allowed married couples to have a second child only if both the husband and wife were only children.

The change was first announced by the Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCCPC) on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform, which was made by the CCCPC on November 12, 2013. (Text of the Decision [in Chinese], XINHUANET (Nov. 15, 2013).) Following the CCCPC Decision, all provinces have amended their family planning regulations except for Xinjiang and Xizang (Tibet), according to the official Xinhua News Agency. (Shishi Jinzhan [Progress of Implementation], XINHUANET (June 25, 2014).)

Provincial Family Planning Regulations That Have Been Changed

The following amended provincial family planning regulations, arranged in chronological order starting with the most recently issued ones, are now available online [all in Chinese]:

Hainan Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective June 1, 2014), the People’s Government of Hainan Province website;

Shandong Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective May 30, 2014), Health and Family Planning Commission of Shandong Province website;

Heilongjiang Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective Apr. 22, 2014), Health and Family Planning Commission of Heilongjiang Province;

Fujian Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective Mar. 31, 2014, Health and Family Planning Commission of Fujian Province website;

Jilin Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective Mar. 28, 2014), Jilin Province People’s Congress website;

Jiangsu Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective Mar. 28, 2014), Jiangsu Province People’s Congress website;

Guangdong Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective Mar. 27, 2014), Shenzhen Municipal Government website;

Hubei Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (amended and effective Mar. 27, 2014), Health and Family Planning Commission of Hubei Province websitel;

Gansu Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (amended and effective Mar, 26, 2014), the People’s Government of Gansu Province website;

Sichuan Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (amended and effective Mar. 20, 2014), Health and Family Planning Commission of Sichuan Province website;

Shanghai Municipal Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective Mar. 1, 2014), Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress website;

Beijing Municipal Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective Feb.) 21, 2014, Beijing Government website;

Tianjin Municipal Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective Feb. 14, 2014), Tianjin Population and Family Planning Committee website;

Anhui Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective Jan. 23, 2014), Anhui Provincial Commission of Health and Family Planning website, (effective date see Progress of Implementation, supra); and

Zhejiang Province Population and Family Planning Regulations (effective Jan. 17, 2014), The People’s Government of Zhejiang Province website.

Legislative Background of the Exceptions to the “One Child” Policy

Although “one couple, one child” has been established as the general rule under China’s family planning policy, the Population and Family Planning Law (Renkou yu Jihua Shengyu Fa) provides that under certain conditions a married couple may be allowed to have a second child or more, and authorizes the legislatures at the provincial level to formulate the exceptions. (Population and Family Planning Law of the People’s Republic of China (Order of the President No.63) (promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Dec. 29, 2001, effective Sept. 1, 2002), art. 18, GOV.CN.)

The exceptions to the “one child” policy vary from province to province. Based on a survey of the family planning regulations listed above, prior to the recent changes in them, the following conditions were generally accepted at the provincial level as cases in which a second child was allowed:

• where both the husband and the wife are only children;

• where the first child is handicapped;

• for rural residents, where the first child is a girl; or

• where both spouses are ethnic minorities.