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China struggles to engineer a baby boom after one-child policy was scrapped

Imposed in the late 1970s, the one-child policy was aimed at combating concerns over whether the economy could support a rapidly growing population.

Implementation was brutal – women were forced to undergo abortions and sterilisations, and couples were hit with high fines for daring to have more children.

Authorities finally scrapped the policy in 2015, allowing couples to have two children. The goal was to boost the number of babies born to replenish the already-shrinking labour force, the engine that propelled China’s to become the world’s second-largest economy.

But China has since struggled to engineer a baby boom.

With the labour force expected to fall roughly 23 per cent by 2050, according to official data, experts and policymakers are growing worried about long-term economic stagnation, especially as growth is already on the wane. 

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