Beijing, Jan 31 (PTI) A single Chinese woman has asked the law makers to legalise children of unmarried women to tide over the problem of low fertility rate haunting China, the world’s most populous nation, after the number of new-borns dropped by two million last year despite the government permitting two children since 2016.

China’s two-child policy implemented in 2016 has failed to make an impact on the country’s low birth rate as the number of new-borns dropped by two million last year in the world’s most populous nation, recent figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed.

After China implemented the comprehensive two-child policy that allows all couples to have two children – abandoning its decades-long one-child policy – in 2016, the country’s health authority predicted that the fertility rate in 2017 and 2018 would be 1.97 and 2.09 Zhang Ahlan (pseudonym), 27, from Beijing has proposed that children of unmarried women be legitimised which was strongly opposed by some experts, state-run Global Times reported on Thursday.

Zhang said that she sent letters to 64 deputies of the National People’s Congress (NPC) saying they cannot freeze their eggs nor apply for a sperm from the sperm bank or use artificially assisted reproductive technology to get pregnant.

The letters sent by Zhang early this month to NPC Deputies were mostly from China’s Jilin Province as Jilin is the only province in the country that officially allows unmarried women above legal age to get pregnant.

However, it is allowed under certain conditions, including having a Jilin household registration and remaining single for life.

She is yet to receive a response, the report said.

The NPC, which is China’s Parliament is due to hold its annual session from March 5.

Currently single Chinese women’s right to give birth to children falls under the grey area of the law, the report said.

In China, single women are deridingly called leftover women. According to unofficial figures, China has about 200 million single adults.

Zhang’s proposal has been strongly opposed by experts, saying it is not responsible to their babies, the paper reported.

“It might lead to the children living in single families,” Liu Changqiu, a health law expert and research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted as saying by the paper.

The steady increase in old age population raised concerns over mounting costs of health care for the elderly and the shortage of labour in the world’s second largest economy which is also facing a slowdown.

A total of 15.23 million babies were born last year in China, a drop by about two million from that of 2017, the data by the NBS said.

It marks the second-year consecutive decrease since the country relaxed its family planning policy and fully implemented the universal second-child policy since 2016.

The birth rate also dropped from 1,243 to 1,094 per 100,000 population from 2017 to 2018, the paper said, quoting the NBS data.

The number of women between the ages of 20 and 39 is expected to drop by more than 39 million over the next decade, He Yafu, a demographer and author of a book on the impact of China’s population policy, was quoted as saying in a report early this month.

Chai Zhenwu, president of the China Population Association, said that the number of people born will continue to fall over the next few years.

Recent reports also said China plans to completely abandon the birth control policy to encourage people to have more children, to correct the demographic imbalance.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.