Fri, Aug 10, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Chinese piglet stamps spark family planning rumors

Reuters, BEIJING

Designer Han Meilin, right, poses as he presents his design for a Year of the Pig stamp to China Post president Liu Aili at a ceremony in Beijing on Monday.

Photo: Reuters

A new “pig family” postal stamp has stoked debate about whether China might further loosen its family planning policy next year.

China Post on its official Web site on Monday unveiled the design of a stamp due for release next year — the Year of Pig. The design features a family of two smiling pigs and their three cheerful piglets.

Many netizens took the design as a sign that the government is seeking to promote a bigger family size.

China from 2016 starting allowing urban couples to have two children, replacing a one-child policy in place since 1979. The change was preceded by a stamp design with a zodiac theme four months earlier that portrayed a monkey family with two baby monkeys.

“Judging from the new stamp design, you can tell China will definitely encourage people to have three kids in 2019,” a user with the handle Sven Shi wrote on Sina Weibo.

Such a move would be an attempt to “prevent the further shrinking of the labor force in the future,” Shi said.

As of last year, people aged 60 and above accounted for about 16.2 percent of China’s population, compared to 7.4 percent in 1950, according to the UN Population Division.

Last year, the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission said that the number of newborn babies in the nation was 17.58 million, 12 percent below the national forecast.

However, some people remain skeptical of further relaxing birth controls, saying that inadequate social security and slowing income growth might continue to discourage bigger families.

It is of course possible the new stamps do not necessarily translate into policy change — China Post released a stamp featuring a mother pig with her five piglets on the last Year of the Pig in 2007.

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