China: Family planning policy changes permitting two children, announced 29 October 2015 (October 2015) [CHN105359.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

According to a statement published on the English language version of the Xinhua News Agency website, a new proposal to allow all Chinese couples to have two children was issued by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee at the Party's Fifth Plenary Session on 29 October 2015 (Xinhua News Agency 29 Oct. 2015). The statement indicates that "[t]he change of policy is intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population" (ibid.). The same source reports that the proposed policy change requires approval from the "top legislature" before it can be enacted (ibid.). According to the Guardian, there were "no immediate details on how or when China's new 'two-child policy' would be implemented" (29 Oct. 2015). An article by Reuters, states that, according to a statement by a deputy director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, the provinces will be responsible for the details of implementation of the new policy (Reuters 30 Oct. 2015). The same source reports that the official stated that families wishing to have a second child would still need approval but the commission will "seek to shift to a system of registration rather than approval" (ibid.).

An article published on 29 October 2015 by Amnesty International (AI) indicates that the new policy applies to "all urban married couples" (AI 29 Oct. 2015). The same source states that, despite the change in policy, "Chinese women will remain at risk of intrusive forms of contraception and coerced or forced abortions" (ibid.). According to the Guardian, experts interviewed for the article "expressed concern that the announcement …, which referred to Chinese couples, suggested children born outside of wedlock would continue to be penalized by the government" (29 Oct. 2015). Further details on the implementation of the policy change, including adjustment to current family planning laws, provincial rules and regulations could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International (AI). 29 October 2015. “China: Reform of One-Child Policy Not Enough.” [Accessed 29 Oct. 2015]

The Guardian. 29 October 2015. Tom Phillips. “China Ends One-Child Policy After 35 Years.” [Accessed 29 Oct. 2015]

Reuters. 30 October 2015. Megha Rajagopalan and Ben Blanchard. "China to Leave Implementation of Two-Child Policy to Provinces." [Accessed 30 Oct. 2015]

Xinhua News Agency. 29 October 2015. “China to Allow Two Children for All Couples.” [Accessed 29 Oct. 2015]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: China – Ministry of Civil Affairs, Municipal Health and Family Planning Commissions in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, National Health and Family Planning Commission, National People’s Congress; China Daily; People’s Daily.

Associated documents