China allows couples third child amid demographic crisis

BEIJING (AP) – China will now allow couples to have a third child as the country seeks to hold off a demographic crisis that threatens its hopes of increased prosperity and global influence.

The legislature on Friday amended the Population and Family Planning Law as part of a decades-long effort by the ruling Communist Party to dictate the size of families in keeping with political directives.

From the 1980s, China strictly limited most couples to one child, a policy enforced with threats of fines or loss of jobs, leading to abuses including forced abortions.

The rules were eased in 2015 to allow two children as officials acknowledged the consequences of the plummeting birthrate.