A woman takes a selfie with a baby in a field of pink grass (muhlenbergia capillaris) at Longhu wetland park in Zhengzhou, central China's Henan Province, Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)
Central China's Henan Province is mulling a revision to its family planning regulation, allowing couples with a disabled child to have a third child, triggering widespread discussions on Chinese social media.
The regulation was submitted to the standing committee of the thirteenth Henan Provincial People's Congress for revision on May 31.
The revised regulation said couples are encouraged to have two children.
For couples who have had two children, if one of the kids is classified as a non-hereditary disabled child and cannot become a member of the labor force, the couple would be allowed to have another child after receiving approval, the regulation said.
Huang Wenzheng, a demographics expert, told the Global Times that the revision is not a major directive change on family planning, but seeks to address local community issues around remarried couples.
Li Jianmin, a professor at the Institute of Population and Development at Nankai University, believes the revision aims to increase the low reproduction rate and conforms to the country's family planning policy.
The revision has triggered widespread controversy on social media, with many asking if the government has supplementary measures in place to support the families in raising another child, as raising children has become expensive, which is believed to be a major reason why the reproduction rate remains low in China.
China's population has not risen sharply as expected after it fully implemented the two-child policy in 2015. Although the academic community has not yet concluded that China will enter a "low reproduction trap," it is generally believed that China's reproduction rate will continue to decline in the future.
A total of 14.65 million babies were born in China in 2019, dropping by 580,000 from the previous year and continuing to decrease for the third consecutive year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.