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China district to allow even ‘unmarried couples’ to register their child’s birth

Amid the historic population drop in China, Sichuan province, in the southwestern region, has decided to drop restrictions on unmarried people having children. 

In the Sichuan region, only married couples could only register the birth of their children, that too, up to only 2 children. Birth registration certificates are required for maternity insurance benefits, children’s access to social welfare policies, such as healthcare and education, etc. But from now on, all citizens in Sichuan region – including unmarried parents – can register the birth of all their children. This is a major step considering China was once extremely strict about its ‘one child policy’.

The Sichuan provincial health commission said in a statement that by scrapping the restriction on marriage, the new measures shifted the focus of birth registration to “the desire and results of childbearing.”

Sichuan health official said, as reported by BBC, the policy was intended to safeguard the rights of single mothers, not to encourage unmarried people to become parents. The commission’s announcement said the policy would promote “long-term and balanced population development.”

This comes at a time when China reported a massive demographic crisis. Data from the last year showed that  China’s population shrank last year for the first time in more than six decades

Apart from Sichuan, similar steps are also undertaken by provinces, such as Guangdong and Shaanxi.

China was once extremely strict about its one-child policy. But owing to the demographic crisis Beijing scrapped the highly controversial rule in 2015. But after a brief uptick in 2016, the national birth rate has continued to fall.

Policymakers further relaxed limits on births in 2021, allowing three children, and ramped up efforts to encourage larger families. And the government also introduced measures like stronger maternity leave policies and tax deductions and other perks to families. But those efforts have yet to see results.

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