More than five years after the Chinese government abandoned its one-child policy, allowing married couples to have two children, it has now announced that they could have up to three.

The move came suddenly, after results last month from a once-in-a-decade census. China reported only 12 million births in 2020, the fourth consecutive annual decline. The fertility rate for the year, 1.3 children per woman, was far below the level needed just to maintain the population, 2.1.

However swiftly the new three-child policy followed those results, it is timid and unimaginative, and it will be largely irrelevant.

Read on in The New York Times: 

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