Couples in China can now have up to 3 children

<p><em>(Anadolu photo)</em></p>

(Anadolu photo)

ANKARA – China on Monday further relaxed its family planning policy and allowed couples to have three children, the state-run media said.

According to Global Times, the Chinese government has decided to improve its population structure and counter the country's aging population problem.

The authorities are also planning to improve the maternity leave and maternity insurance systems and strengthen supporting policies in fields such as tax and housing, the daily reported.

Last year in November, China released its five-year plan from 2021 to 2025 to promote balanced population development. Under the new policy, the government would provide extensive social and economic support to counter the shrinking workforce and aging population problems.

In 2016, China relaxed restrictions and allowed couples to have a second child due to the rapid increase in the aging population.

Earlier in 1978, the country imposed a controversial "one-child policy" to reduce poverty and develop the economy.

The country's birthrate dropped as the number of newborns in China dropped from 17.25 million in 2017 to 14.65 million in 2019, Global Times quoted a report of the research center under the Ministry of Public Security.

The number of newborn babies registered with public security organs in 2020 was 10.04 million, 15 percent down from the previous year.

It was the fourth consecutive year of falling births despite the implementation in 2016 of a universal second-child policy that allows all couples to have two children, the data showed. (Anadolu)