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China plans to end birth controls as demographic time bomb ticks

Baby bust pushes Beijing to reconsider decades-long policy

China's steps to loosen birth restrictions have done little so far to lift the country's birthrate, even as Chinese live longer.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- Chinese policymakers are considering dismantling the country's decades-old family-planning rules as births continue to fall despite last year's decision to allow couples to have up to two children.

Beijing fears that the decreasing birthrate will leave too few young people to bear a projected surge in social welfare costs for an aging population. But it is unclear whether abolishing birth controls alone will be enough to defuse the demographic time bomb.

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