Home » China Travel Guide » Family Planning

Family Planning


Family planning policy refers to a series of targeted measures to curb population growth by encouraging late marriage and postponing child-bearing. It also advocates planned childbirth, including healthy pregnancy and scientific nurture. Since it was adopted as basic state policy family planning policy has played an indispensable role in dealing with China's population problem and future development. However, family planning only involves efforts to curb the population and does not address population renewal. This has resulted in the current situation whereby China ages before it gets rich, because of the aging population. At the start of the 21st century some adjustments were made to the policy. As the first generation of single children born in 1980s reached marriageable age the policy has been relaxed in its implementation, particularly in the developed cities. For example, a married couple who were both single children are allowed to bear two children. However, as educational levels and living standards have risen, many cities in China are now confronted with the dilemma that many young couples are not interested giving up their free and prosperous life to have children.

China's family planning policy includes a series of measures regarding child-bearing, contraception, rewards and restrictions, and the child-bearing measure is the core of the policy. As stipulated in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "the implementation of China's family planning policy aims to bring the population growth into line with the eco-social development" and "any party of a married couple is obliged to implement the family planning policy". Marriage law in China includes family planning in the general rules. Overall, family planning policy is designed to curb population growth to make it commensurate with economic development.

1. In terms of the nation, family planning in China involves efforts to achieve planned adjustments to population growth so as to bring it into line with social and economic development. In terms of the family (or couple), family planning concerns the efforts to plan for child-bearing in order to meet family needs and respond to social requirements.

2. When population growth outpaces social and economic development, birth control policy should be adopted to slow down population growth. Specifically, the one-child policy should be implemented, late marriage and postponed child-bearing should be encouraged and healthy pregnancy and scientific nurture should be advocated so as to bring down the number of newborn babies and improve the quality of the population.

3. In accordance with the national conditions, equal emphasis should be placed on curbing the population and improving the quality of the population. The quality of the population involves many aspects, such as morality, health and education. To improve the quality of the population is an inherent requirement of higher level implied in family planning. To improve the quality of the population, the government should curb the population, advocate healthy pregnancy, give priority to education, perfect the health care system, engage more people in social welfare, guarantee the health of women and children, help the young people foster a healthy concept of marriage and birth control, and work on the popularization of sexual knowledge. 1949-1961, The New Population Theory by Ma Yinchu put forward the birth control policy. AT that time there was no specific family planning policy in China. As the government imposed restrictions on abortion, many experts believed that the government was indeed carrying out policies encouraging population growth.


The birth control policy was advanced and implemented at municipal and county levels during this period. In December 1962 the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council gave instructions for the implementation of family planning. A year later, the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council specified measures to encourage late marriage, and amended any regulations that did not support the family planning policy. In 1964 the Family Planning Commission was established by the State Council. Birth control was mainly implemented in the cities, and the family planning policy was implemented in roughly one fifth of the counties in the rural areas.


During this period family planning policy was established and fully implemented. In 1970 the policy was officially incorporated into the national economic development plan, and adopted in earnest. In 1973 measures concerning postponing childbirth and limitations to the number of children were further specified. According to the policy then, each couple was recommended to have a child, and two at most, with up to three years between the two.


Family planning policy was adjusted and strongly implemented. In September, 1980, the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council advocated that the one-child policy be put into effect on a large scale nationwide. Against this background family planning policy had never been so tight. Local governments eventually regarded such a policy as a political imperative. It was widely perceived at this time that each couple was strictly limited to one child. China's family planning policy was therefore totally against actual family needs. The family planning policy was adopted as a basic state policy in 1982.


Various adjustments have been made since 1984, giving rise to today's policy. In rural areas a couple is now permitted to have a second child under certain conditions. Regulations on family planning have been made at the provincial and municipal levels according to local conditions. These differentiated and diversified birth control policies help mitigate the conflicts arising from family planning. Based on the regulations a system of rewards has been established, and there are many campaigns, such as the anti-poverty campaign and the girls' right campaign, to name just a few.

China carries out the one-child policy. Any couple, agreed upon by both parties, may apply to have a second child and submit the request to their local Commission of Family Planning. If permission is granted the couple may bear a second child within the permitted span of time. Permission may be given if they meet one of the following requirements.

1: The only child is diagnosed with non-hereditary disability and unable to grow up as a complete person, as certified by the municipal or provincial-level institute of medicine for the disabled children;

2: Either party of a remarried couple has a child; both parties of a remarried couple have a child respectively but do not have custody resulting from a divorce;

3: The female spouse of a married couple, who is diagnosed with infertility five years after marriage (certified by county, municipal or provincial-level health organization) and then falls pregnant after adopting a child is allowed to give birth to the coming baby;

4: The only son and the only daughter are involved in a marriage;

5: Either party of a couple has taken a post in underground mines or deepwater operations for more than five consecutive years and is still engaged in this post;

6: Both parties of a couple are registered in the rural areas and the first child is a girl.

7: The family-planning commission has eased the old policy. Married couples may now have two children provided that one spouse is an only child, and that the first birth was one child, not twins or multi-birth. The new policy began to be implemented during the first quarter of 2014.