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China Scraps Approvals for First, Second Children

China on Tuesday stopped requiring couples to apply for official approval before having a first or second child, following the abolition of the one-child policy.

The move, which entered effect immediately, was announced by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council.

They said the approval system will be replaced by birth registrations for couples' first and second children.

All Chinese couples have been allowed to have two children since January 1, after the national legislature amended its family planning policy in late December.

A document released by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council said the nation is aiming to improve its services for women and children in both urban and rural areas.

It also called for intensified efforts to monitor and predict growth in the number of newborns.

The family planning policy was introduced in the 1970s. In 1980, the government started limiting most couples to one child. The grip gradually relaxed in the following decades. For example, rural couples were allowed to have two children if the first was a girl.

In 2013, China allowed couples to have a second child if either parent was an only child.

Tuesday's document said the family planning policy was effective in curbing alarming growth in the nation's population, reducing pressure on resources and the environment.

The one-child policy is estimated to have prevented 400 million births.

(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2016)

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