Fact check: China parenting policy says couples can have 3 children, up from 2

·3 min read

The claim: China announced an end to its one-child policy and will now allow couples to have three children

China's decades-long child-limit restrictions on couples have generated controversy and misinformation on social platforms.

In 1980, China introduced a one-child policy in an attempt to slow its surging population growth. The government limited most urban couples to one child and allowed two children for rural families if their firstborn was a girl.

But one viral social media post suggests that the nationwide one-child limit in China recently came to an end and that couples can now have up to three children.

"#BreakingNews The Chinese government has announced an end to the one-child policy and will allow couples to have up to 3 children because of the aging majority and lack of young workers," reads a screenshot of a tweet shared to Instagram on May 31.

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The Instagram post has more than 1,300 likes and was shared by Conflict Collective News, which told USA TODAY via email that "their intern should have clarified it more but technically nothing he said was untrue."

This claim is misleading. China said it would allow married couples to have up to three children, putting an end to its existing two-child policy.

China's one-child policy ended in 2015

While it's true that China is now allowing couples to have three children, the government ended its one-child policy years ago, not recently, as the post suggests.

On May 31, China announced married couples could now have up to three children as it deals with an aging population, which is adding strains on the country's economy and society, the Associated Press reported.

State-run Xinhua News Agency said a ruling party meeting led by President Xi Jinping introduced the measure to "actively deal with the aging population" and agreed that "implementing the policy of one couple can have three children and supporting measures are conducive to improving China’s population structure.”

However, China's one-child policy ended in 2015, and it was replaced with a two-child limit per couple. This change did not happen recently.

The one-child restriction was removed "to improve the balanced development of (China's) population," Beijing's ruling Communist Party said in an October 2015 statement.

China says the one-child policy led to 400 million fewer births and helped millions out of poverty due to a decreased demand for resources. Researchers, however, say the birthrate would have declined regardless due to rising education levels, resulting in more women in the workforce, USA TODAY reported.

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Data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows China has a population of 1.41 billion, with the number of births declining. Couples say they are put off by the high costs of raising children, disruptions to work and the need to look after elderly parents, according to the Associated Press.

Our rating: Missing context

The claim that China announced an end to its one-child policy and will now allow couples to have three children is MISSING CONTEXT, because without additional details it could be misleading. China recently announced married couples could have three children, up from its previous two-child limit. China's one-child policy ended in 2015, not recently.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Couples in China can now have 3 children, up from 2