>> It's been a harsh symbol of state control for decades, now China's infamous family planning policy could be headed for the scrap heap. Government researchers this week announcing the country may relax or even throw out restrictions on how many kids a couple is allowed to have. Beijing recently loosened its notorious one child policy, allowing couples to have a second child.
But the country still has one of the world's lowest birth rates, and is facing a demographic time bomb as the population ages and the work force shrinks. More young people would mean a big boost in consumption, more hands to care for parents and grandparents, and more workers. But critics say that scrapping the family planning policy isn't a cut and dried solution.
Some warn that China's resources can only support so many people. Others point out that just because Beijing changes its policy, doesn't mean couples will change their minds about how many kids they want, especially as the cost of living continues to rise. Many of the 90 million couples who became eligible to have a second child this year haven't yet jumped at the opportunity.