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China’s Three-child policy formally passed into law

China has formally revised its laws to allow couples to have up to three children in a move that aims to boost the country’s birth rate. The regulation was one of several that were passed on a Friday meeting of the National People’s Congress. According to reports, details on the controversial anti-sanctions law for Hong Kong are also expected to emerge, however, some say that the decision has been delayed and was not discussed Friday. The policy, which was announced in May, represents a major shift in China’s government.

The law includes canceling the social maintenance fee, a financial penalty brought upon couples that have children beyond the limit put in place by the government. The policy also encourages local governments to offer parental leave, increasing women’s employment rights, and improving childcare infrastructure to allow couples to work while raising children. Recent data has shown a dramatic decline in China’s birth rate, likely due to the social maintenance fee and prior restrictions that banned couples from having more than one child, then more than two children. In 2016, the one-child policy was scrapped and replaced with a two-child limit, which allegedly did little to boost births.

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