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A renewed baby boom has forced China to tacitly abandon a long-cherished goal of limiting its population to 1.2 billion at the end of the century, Chinese and Western experts say. The acknowledgment has been hinted at in official press reports and expressed privately by Chinese officials, reflecting growing realization that the vaunted "one-couple, one-child" policy is falling short in the world's most populous nation, the experts said. The program, long stymied by entrenched resistance in the Chinese countryside, has more recently been frustrated by the natural echo of a 1960s baby boom, greater freedom and prosperity under economic reforms and relaxed policies allowing earlier marriages.

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