China's one-child policy lifted for quake-hit families - Emirates24|7

China's one-child policy lifted for quake-hit families

Grieving parents sit with photos of their children in front of the school in which they were killed (GETTY IMAGES)

Families who lost their only child in China's devastating earthquake will be allowed to have another baby under clarifications made to the nation's "one-child" policy, state press said.

Chinese officials issued guidelines following the quake which allow distraught couples to have another child provided they apply with the government's family planning agency, the Chengdu Evening News said late on Monday.

The guidelines do not alter China's controversial "one child" policy – which generally permits urban families one child and rural families two if the first is a girl – but clarifies existing regulations, it said.

Those families who lost their child in the May 12 quake, and who are still of child bearing age, must seek permission from local family planning bureaus and be issued a permit to have a second child, it said.

The guidelines were issued by the Chengdu family planning bureau in the earthquake-hit, southwest Sichuan province, it said.

Several thousand children were among the 65,000 killed in the quake, the most devastating in a generation, which also left 23,000 people missing.

Many of the children were killed as their school buildings collapsed around them, prompting anger from parents about the safety of the structures.

Babies have become an especially priceless commodity in China since the government banned most parents from having more than one nearly three decades ago in an attempt to rein in growth of the population.

The policy has resulted in 400 million fewer births, according to the government. At more than 1.3 billion people, China has the world's largest population.

The new guidelines also said couples that adopt a child or baby orphaned by the quake, and have not already given birth to their own child, would also be allowed to have a second child by natural birth, the paper said.

Those couples over 50 years of age who lost their only child to the earthquake would also be paid an annual stipend of CNY600 (Dh315) as part of a family planning subsidy, it added.