Many today also see the birth limits as outdated, a relic of the era when housing, jobs and food were provided by the state.
"It has been thirty years since our planned economy was liberalized," commented Wang Yi, the owner of a shop that sells textiles online, under a news report on the foundation's proposal. "So why do we still have to plan our population?"
Though open debate about the policy has flourished in state media and on the Internet, leaders have so far expressed a desire to maintain the status quo. President Hu said last year that China would keep its strict family planning policy to keep the birth rate low and other officials have said that no changes are expected until at least 2015.
Wang Feng, director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy and an expert on China's demographics, contributed research material to the foundation's report but has yet to see the full text. He said he welcomed the gist of the document that he's seen in state media.
It says the government "should return the rights of reproduction to the people," he said. "That's very bold."
Gu Baochang, a professor of demography at Beijing's Renmin University and a vocal advocate of reform, said the proposed timeline wasn't aggressive enough.
"They should have reformed this policy ages ago," he said. "It just keeps getting held up, delayed."
Associated Press researcher Flora Ji in Beijing contributed to this report.
Follow Alexa Olesen on Twitter: http://twitter.com/alobeijing
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