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Authorities to Relax One-child Policy

Family planning authorities in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, will make exceptions on the one-child policy for families who lost their only child in the devastating earthquake on May 12.

Couples whose sole child was killed, severely injured or disabled in the deadly disaster will get a certificate allowing them to have a second one, the Population and Family Planning Committee in the city said yesterday.

Parents over the age of 50 whose only child was killed or disabled in the disaster will receive an annual subsidy of 600 yuan (US$86) each.

Married couples who adopt quake orphans will also be allowed to have a biological child.

Those families will still receive preferential policies reserved for one-child families, the commission said.

Yesterday's emergency announcement affects parents in Chengdu, which has 10 million people, as well as two of the hardest-hit cities, Dujiangyan and Pengzhou. The emergency announcement was simply clarifying existing guidelines, a family planning committee official surnamed Wang said.

"There are just a lot of cases now, so we need to clarify our policies," he said.

The committee plans to help about 1,200 of the worst-hit families, but that number could change, Wang said.

China's family planning policy limits most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two.

Violators of the family-planning policy face a fine of at least four times the local average annual income.

(Shanghai Daily May 27, 2008)

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