Southern China’s Panzhihua city announced Wednesday it will offer subsidies to families that have more than one child, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.
Municipal authorities in Panzhihua, located in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan, said parents residing in the city “will be able to claim a monthly allowance of 500 yuan ($77) per child for a second or third baby up to the age of three,” according to the Post.
Panzhihua is the first city in China to announce such a subsidy system, meant to encourage couples to have more children. The new incentive program also allows mothers in Panzhihua to access free maternity care in designated hospitals after giving birth to a second or third child. Panzhihua is additionally encouraging employers and state-owned companies in the city to offer childcare services to staff with more than one child.
The new measures come one day after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang encouraged Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials to “accelerate the development of a system of public childcare services and ease the burden of childbirth, parenting, and education on the people.”
Li spoke at a teleconference in Beijing concerning the optimization of China’s new three-child policy, announced on May 31. The draft amendment to China’s population and family planning law — due for submission to the CCP’s rubber-stamp legislature for deliberation in August — allows couples to have up to three children.
China infamously banned families from having more than one child for decades until 2016 before increasing the number to two. The strict family planning policies resulted in China’s now aging population and warped demographics.
“China’s latest census data shows that the number of new births fell in 2020 for a fourth consecutive year. Some 12 million babies were born, down 18 percent from 14.65 million in 2019 — a near six-decade low,” according to the Post.
“The population is also aging at an unprecedented rate, partly due to the notorious one-child policy,” the newspaper noted.
“The population issues are of fundamental, holistic, and strategic importance that concern the development of the Chinese nation,” Li, who directs the CCP’s chief administrative authority, said at Tuesday’s conference.
“The relevant economic and social policies and supporting measures should be coordinated to ease the burdens that giving birth, raising children, and providing education place on parents,” he stressed.
“The government is going to study and promote the inclusion of childcare expenses for children under the age of three in special additional deductions for individual income taxes,” Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan revealed at the same conference.