More babies in China just the beginning of change: China Daily

China's new two-child policy is only one of many measures the fifth Plenary Session of the CPC's 18th Central Committee have outlined for more balanced development over the next five years.
China's new two-child policy is only one of many measures the fifth Plenary Session of the CPC's 18th Central Committee have outlined for more balanced development over the next five years.PHOTO: EPA

In its editorial on Oct 30, 2015, China Daily notes that the measure is just one of such initiatives that China is considering to address imbalances.

That the Communist Party of China (CPC) has officially proposed putting an end to the decades-old "one-child" family planning policy is certainly something sensational.

Which was why it was instantly picked up late on Thursday (Oct 29) by all major news outlets, way ahead of the rest of the CPC's blueprint for the country's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

Yet, the eye-catching decision to allow all couples to have two children, which is meant to correct the impending imbalance in the country's demographic structure, is only one of many measures the fifth Plenary Session of the CPC's 18th Central Committee have outlined for more balanced development over the next five years.

Indeed, the development philosophy of the conference communique - "innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared by all" - is focused on addressing imbalances.

The meeting is worth all the media hoopla it has generated, not because it announced the five-year road map, but that this five-year period is of particular significance, as it coincides with the deadline for fulfilling the Party's centenary goal of realising a moderately well-off society in an all-round manner.

These five years are likely to be make or break, as the country will either become mired in the dreaded middle-income trap, or survive the pains of transformation and accomplish a sustainable economic rebirth.

Given the growing downward pressures on the economy and the subsequent signs of a slowdown, as well as the conspicuous wealth gaps between regions and groups of people, it took tremendous confidence for top leader Xi Jinping to declare China will not be caught in the "middle-income trap".

The plenum's call for "strategic concentration" on comprehensive, balanced economic and social progress, along with specific proposals to eliminate rural poverty, equalise public services, and extend urban public services to rural areas, shows the course the leadership is charting to avoid that notorious trap.

While the main theme of the plenum boils down to "continue concentrating on doing our own things well", its emphasis on "open development" should also be a reassuring message to the rest of the world.

The communiqué states the country will pursue a mutually beneficial, win-win opening-up strategy, and seek to build a "broad community of shared interests".

Mr Xi's recent state visit to Britain and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ongoing visit to China are vivid footnotes to such openness and mutual benefits.

Such visits are unmistakable hallmarks of an open China's thirst for partnerships, echoing Xi's invitation for the outside world to "catch the express train of China's development".

* China Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, a grouping of 22 newspapers seeking to promote coverage of Asian affairs.