China announced an end to the “one-child policy” on Oct 29 as it also unveiled a series of policies aimed at improving livelihoods by 2020.
It is targeting “medium to high economic growth” in this period and also aims to double its 2010 GDP and per capita income of urban and rural residents by 2020.
The targets were announced in a statement following a key meeting of the Communist Party of China Central Committee as the world’s second-largest economy looks to share more of its economic benefits with the nation.
No specific annual growth target was announced, but economists have suggested that China can cope with average GDP growth of about 6.5 percent in the next five years－down from 7 percent at present-to achieve more sustainable growth.
The most eye-catching announcement was the decision to ease the decades long family planning policy to allow all couples to have two children. The change would balance population development and address challenges posed by an aging population, according to the statement.
It was issued after a four-day meeting of the 18th CPC Central Committee in Beijing, during which leaders discussed the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), the first since President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang took office.
The committee also discussed modernizing agriculture and raising people’s standard of living. During the next five years, the country has pledged to lift all impoverished people in rural areas out of poverty and waive tuition fees for poor high school students.
State-owned capital will be used to augment the social security fund, according to the statement. Nearly 200 million Chinese have yet to be included in the insurance plan for the elderly.
Hu Angang, a professor at Tsinghua University School of Public Policy and Management, said, “China’s macroeconomic growth must be measured by micro-indicators, and every individual should be able to enjoy the benefits brought by this growth.”
Hu said that by 2020, China’s per capita GDP is expected to reach $12,000 to $13,000 and the nation will have become a “moderately well-off” society by then.
The statement provides only the broadest outline of proposals approved during the meeting. More details may emerge in about 10 days when the draft of the plan is released, if the practice for previous five-year plans is followed.