BEIJING — A day after announcing the lifting of the “one couple, one child” policy in order to allow all couples to have two children, Chinese officials are admitting that the move was premature and might cause a “perilous” spike in the birth rate, leading to a scarcity of diapers, pacifiers and cute onesies.
Instead, couples who have been married for more than a year will be permitted to have up to 1.5 children — a more reasonable number, says Hua Chung, the Communist Party’s chief statistician.
“We’re sorry about the confusion, but China will continue to uphold a national policy of strict population control,” said an official communique released on Thursday to Xinhua, the state news agency. “As the old saying goes, one child is luck, two is a curse, and one-and-a-half is a blessing.”
Some legislators — many of whom are old enough to remember Chairman Mao’s calls during the Great Famine in the middle of the last century for all couples to have precisely two-fifths of a child so that rice stores would not be overstretched — are even arguing that 1.25 children per couple is a more sensible limit.
“Young parents these days are so selfish,” said Yuen Woo Ping, a party official from Jiangxi province. “First they want a baby, then two, and next they’re requesting a license to have a hundred. We need to draw the line somewhere.”