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China: One-child Policy to Remain in Effect for Now

FILE - Women push babies in strollers through a Beijing park during a public holiday.

China's top family planning authority says the country's one-child policy will continue to be implemented until new rules allowing couples to have two children goes into effect.

The announcement by the National Health and Family Planning Commission contradicts remarks by officials in Hunan province who told a local newspaper that those currently pregnant with a second child would not be punished.

According to China's official Xinhua news agency "a final plan for the policy change will be ratified by the annual session of China's top legislature in March."

Last week, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced following a key meeting that it would abolish its one-child policy, in place for 35 years, amid concerns about China’s shrinking labor pool, increasing gender divide and aging population.

The World Health Organization predicts that by 2050, 35 percent of China’s population will be over 60 years of age, leaving China as one of the worst effected countries in the world by population aging.

The one child policy was introduced in the 1970's to curb the country's population growth. Couples living in urban areas were limited to just one child while most rural couples were allowed to have two.

However, China began loosening the policy in 2013, allowing a second child for married couples where at least one of the partners was an only child.

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