Fearing demographic collapse, China is launching a new nationwide program to "build a new-era marriage and childbearing culture" within its population.
The pro-natalist scheme was announced by way of state media outlet the Global Times, which said it was intended to coincide with the United Nations' International Day of Families after the UN expressed concern about fertility decline and "demographic change".
Officials said the venture will "focus on tasks including promoting marriage and having children at appropriate ages, encouraging parents to share child-rearing responsibilities, and curbing high 'bride prices' and other outdated customs."
The reference to 'high bride prices' is a Chinese custom whereby the family of the groom gift the bride's family a large financial contribution known as a caili.
Young women in China are now being urged to sign pledges where they promise not to demand a caili from the groom.
China Family Planning Association vice president Yao Ying said the policy is "expected to take innovative and proactive measures to help foster childbearing-friendly atmospheres and contribute to advancing Chinese modernization with the support from the high-quality development of the population."
According to current projections, China's population is likely to drop below 1 billion by 2080 and below 800 million by 2100.