Living in China: Shanghai encourages couples to have second child

Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission is launching a campaign to encourage eligible couples to give birth to a second child as concerns mount over a rapidly aging population.

One child policy.jpg  Please for the sake of your country, use birth control.Sign put up by the government. Found in the entry to the alley slums in Nanchang. These slums are where the pregnant women hide from the government officials enforcing the one child policy.

"Please for the sake of your country, use birth control." Sign put up by the government. Found in the entry to the alley slums in Nanchang. These slums are where the pregnant women hide from the government officials enforcing the one child policy.

Population officials have started to meet families to inform them about the policy on a second child and provide consulting services, according to Xie Lingli, director of the commission.

The campaign was to help reduce the high elderly ratio and prevent future labor shortages, Xie said, stressing that it did not signify a change in either national or city family-planning policies.

“Shanghai has about 3 million people aged 60 or older, 21.6 percent of the population. The rising number of retirees will put pressure on the younger generation and the social security system,” Xie said.

Divorced Shanghai residents are allowed a child with a new spouse even if they already have one from a previous marriage. Disabled parents whose ability to work is impaired can also have more than one child.

Since the city canceled a four-year interval between the first and second births in 2004, more couples are having a second child. Births of second children rose from 2,910 in 2005 to 3,934 in 2007, according to the commission.

The campaign never means the change of the national and local family planning policies and regulations, said Xie, stressing that only eligible couples are encouraged to have a second child.

China’s one-child policy was enacted in 1979 and was incorporated in the Population and Family Planning Law in 2002. Officials say it will be strictly enforced as a means of controlling births for decades to come as overpopulation is still a major concern.

Shanghai’s population is expected to surpass 19.5 million in 2010 and 23 million in 2020, Xie said.

Itamar Medeiros

Originally from Brazil, Itamar Medeiros currently lives in Germany, where he works as Lead Product Design Strategist at SAP and promotes User Experience Design as visiting lecturer at Köln International School of Design. Working in the Information Technology industry since 1998, Itamar Medeiros has helped truly global companies in several countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, United Arab Emirates, United States) create great user experience through advocating Design and Innovation principles. During his 7 years in China, he championed the User Experience Design discipline as User Experience Manager at Autodesk and Local Coordinator of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) in Shanghai

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