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July 12, 2011

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Shanghai going slow on new birth rules

SHANGHAI will continue to impose its strict family-planning policy as it awaits a decision from the central government after reporting that the city has a low birth rate and a big elderly population, local officials said yesterday.

There is no timetable for a policy change, local officials said after a population official in southern China's Guangdong Province said the province has applied to the central government for inclusion in a pilot program allowing couples with one spouse from a one-child family to have a second child.

Local population officials refused to say whether Shanghai also applied and would not confirm the existence of a pilot program.

They said population is a state policy and that Shanghai follows the central government.

Only certain couples are eligible to have a second child, such as when both spouses are themselves only children or when one spouse or the first child has non-hereditary disability.

Zhang Feng, director of Guangdong Province Population and Family Planning Commission, said in an interview with the South Daily on Sunday that the central government is considering a looser policy, allowing couples where only one spouse is an only child to have a second child.

"I think the government may pick some regions to carry out for trial and Guangdong Province has officially applied for taking part," he said.

Shanghai officials said their city is culturally distinct from Guangdong and that Shanghainese couples are less driven to have boys and multiple children.


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