Beijing, Nov 15 — China will relax its decades old one-child population policy, allowing couples to have two children if one of the parents is an only child, and the state would help farmers become urban citizens, according to key decisions announced Friday.
These and several important reforms decisions were unveiled in a lengthy policy document — officially named ‘A decision on major issues concerning comprehensive and far-reaching reforms’ — approved in the third plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, a four-day key meeting that ended here Tuesday, Xinhua reported.
Regarding the one-child policy, China will implement this new policy while adhering to the basic state policy of family planning.
The birth policy will be adjusted and improved step-by-step to promote “long-term balanced development of the population in China”, it said.
China’s family planning policy was first introduced in the late 1970s to rein in the surging population by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two children, if the first child was a girl.
The policy was later relaxed, with its current form stipulating that both parents must be only children if they are to have a second child.
In another major decisions, as part of its urbanisation push, China will accelerate the reforms of its “hukou” system, or household registration system, to help farmers become urban residents.
The country will relax overall control over farmers settling in towns and small cities, and relax restrictions on settling in medium-sized cities in an orderly manner, the document showed
China will also improve the mechanisms for coordinating urban and rural development in an effort to allow farmers to share the fruits of the country’s modernisation.
“The country’s dual urban-rural economic structure is the major obstacle for integrating the development of urban and rural areas,” the document said.
The dual urban-rural economic structure refers to the different growth patterns in cities and rural areas that lead to a wide urban-rural gap, a chronic problem in China.
China must set up a new type of industry-agriculture and urban-rural relations in which the industrial sector promotes agriculture, urban areas support rural development, agriculture and industry benefit each other, and urban and rural development is integrated, according to the document.
The country must grant farmers equal opportunities of participation in its modernisation drive and share the benefits from modernisation.
In another decision, China will allow more private capital into the market to develop a mixed ownership economy.
Non-state-owned capital will be allowed to take equity stakes in projects featuring investment by state-owned capital, and employees of multi-ownership enterprises will be able to hold shares in their companies.
The country will vigorously develop mixed ownership to improve the basic economic system while keeping the dominant role of public ownership, with the state-owned economy playing a leading role, while encouraging, supporting and guiding the non-public sector, enhancing its vitality and creativity, according to the decision.
The decision called for cross-shareholding of state capital, collectively owned capital and non-public capital to maintain and increase the value of stated assets and achieve common development of various ownerships.
The CPC Central Committee decided to support the development of the private economy, and stimulate its vitality and creativity, according to an explanation of the decision, made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
Both public and non-public sectors of the economy are important components of the socialist market economy and significant bases for economic and social development, he said.
China will promote market-oriented reforms in state-owned enterprises by further breaking monopolies and introducing competition, according to the document
The functions of different state-owned enterprises will be clearly defined.
More assets will be channelled into public welfare state-owned enterprises.
Those in natural monopoly sectors, such as energy and minerals among others, will separate government functions from enterprise management, promote franchises and government monitoring of them will be improved, according to the document.
Administrative monopolies will be further broken and competitive business will be introduced, the railway sector being one example. This will mean resources are better allocated, it added.
Salaries and business spending among management in the enterprises will be regulated.