China has formally relaxed its policy of allowing couples to have just one child.
Under the new policy approved on December 28, couples will be permitted to have a second child if just one parent is the only offspring of his or her parents.
Previously, a couple was generally permitted to have a second child only if both parents did not have siblings.
The decision, ratified by the standing committee of the National People's Congress legislature, is the first easing of the restrictive birth policy, which was implemented around 1980.
China’s communist authorities have credited the policy with managing population growth.
But there have been concerns recently that the strict controls could limit China’s ability to economically take care of its aging population.
China is the world's most populous country with around 1.35 billion people.
Based on reporting by AP and Reuters