Beijing to Reward Couples Forgoing Second Child, News Says

The city of Beijing is offering a cash incentive of at least 1,000 yuan ($163) to couples who are qualified to have a second child and decide against it, the Beijing News reported yesterday.

The newspaper cited rules issued by the local government and didn’t provide more explanation.

Any incentive for forgoing a child would contrast with the Communist Party’s pledge last year to loosen China’s one-child restrictions to counter an aging population and declining labor force. Couples can have two children if either parent is an only child, the party said November 15, after a meeting in Beijing to set policies under President Xi Jinping.

The report comes days before the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress, where the nation’s leaders will outline goals and polices for this year.

The family-planning measure, put in place three years after Chairman Mao Zedong’s death in 1976, was intended to alleviate poverty. While containing population growth, the policy has saddled the nation with a shrinking labor force. The United Nations has estimated that the number of 15- to 24-year-olds, the mainstay of factories that drove growth for two decades, will shrink by about 67 million by 2030.