China's plan to set up a national health commission and dismantle the family planning commission indicates that the country is moving from population control to boosting the population, Chinese observers said on Tuesday.
China plans to set up a national health commission in a move to promote the healthy China initiative and ensure the delivery of comprehensive life cycle health services for the Chinese people, according to a document on a State Council institutional reform plan submitted Tuesday to the ongoing national legislative session for deliberation, the Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission, founded in 1981, and a leading group overseeing medical and healthcare reform under the State Council will no longer exist after the reshuffle, said the document.
He Yafu, an independent demographer, said that family planning policy was not mentioned at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and this year's government work report, and the new health commission had removed "family planning" from its name.
"All of these indicate that family planning policy is likely to be ended," He said. "Although the government has not officially abolished the family planning policy, it is expected to be relegated to a lower status and ultimately retreat from the stage of history."
Yi Fuxian, author of non-fiction work A Big Country in an Empty Nest that argues the one-child policy has hurt China, wrote on his official Weibo microblog on Tuesday that "It's a historical change, and it means China is transforming from population control to population development."
The website of China Population Association, which had been promoting population control, has also been closed on Tuesday.
Zhu Lieyu, a National People's Congress deputy and lawyer from the Guoding Law Firm in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, proposed that China allow all couples to have a third child, following a declining number of births in China last year.
Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed there were 17.23 million births in 2017, the second year after China allowed all couples to have a second child, or a drop of 630,000 compared to the previous year. The birth rate in 2017 was 12.43 per thousand, compared with 12.95 per thousand in 2016. The National Bureau of Statistics attributed the decline to 2.5 million fewer couples having first children.
A new style of interview is quickly gaining popularity at China's ongoing annual political meetings, known as the "Two