China one-child policy
Pedestrians and a man carrying baskets pass by a huge billboard extolling the virtues of China's 'One Child Family' policy.Getty Images

China has abandoned its one child policy, allowing two children for all couples, state news agency Xinhua reported. The policy was introduced in 1979 to slow the birth rate.

The announcement of the end of the three-decade-old policy comes at the conclusion of the Communist Party's four day annual summit in Beijing. Xinhua did not report when the new two child policy will be implemented.

There has been speculation recently that the Communist Party would drop the policy, to boost the population and fend off an economic slowdown. There are concerns that the country's ageing population could slow economic growth, with the UN estimating that by 2050 there will be nearly 440 million people over 60.

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At the meeting, the party said that it would aim for "medium high" growth for the next five years. The government is aiming to focus growth on the country's expanding middle class, rather than the investment and export led model that has delivered 10% annual GDP growth for the last decade.