Have Three Children No Way Many Chinese Say

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Intense workplace competition, inadequate child care and widespread job discrimination against pregnant women have made childbearing an unappealing prospect for many.

Women worried that the move would only exacerbate discrimination from employers reluctant to pay maternity leave. Young people fumed that they were already hard-pressed to find jobs and take care of themselves, let alone a child (or three). Working-class parents said the financial burden of more children would be unbearable.

“I definitely will not have another child,” said Hu Daifang, a former migrant worker in Sichuan Province. Mr. Hu, 35, said he was already struggling, especially after his mother fell ill and could no longer help care for his two children. “It feels like we are just surviving, not living.”

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For many ordinary Chinese, the news about the policy change on Monday was only a reminder of a problem they’d long recognized: the drastic inadequacy of China’s social safety net and legal protections that would enable them to have more children.

On Weibo, users complained of mounting education expenses, sky-high housing prices and unforgiving work hours. They pointed out China’s shortage of child care services, which forces many young parents to rely on their own parents to watch their children.

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