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UPDATED: 09:16, December 08, 2004
China scored achievements in building harmonious society, challenges still ahead
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Experts at the on-going World Family Summit said Tuesday that China has made enormous progress in enhancing the harmonious development between mankind and society, but still had to cope with serious challenges ahead.

Khalid Malik, the United Nations' Resident Coordinator in China, said China has experienced rapid demographic transitions since the 1950s. The Chinese government continues to place high priority on family issues -- issues concerning the "clothing, food, lodging and transportation" (yi, shi, zhu, xing) of every member of the family and the society.

China's long term commitment to reform over the last two decades, its strong institutions and hard working population have produced unprecedented progress, Malik said.

Shahbaz Hussain, minister of Population Welfare of Pakistan, said that Pakistan is the 6th most populous country worldwide and 4th in Asia. Pakistan is threatened by similar issues to what China is facing.

Hussain admires how the Chinese government improved socio-economic indicators and controlled population. He said that Pakistan and other nations would like to learn from China's successful experiences.

Statistics from the China Population and Development Country Report indicated that, by reducing fertility, China has successfully brought excessive population growth under control. The social expectations for family size have changed since the 1970s, when the Chinese government established family planning as a basic state policy.

According to the report, China faces new constraints and challenges arising from rapid population changes.

China now faces unprecedented issues such as accelerated population aging, a persistent imbalance of baby girls to baby boys, economic restructuring resulting in an increasing unemployment, internal migration. The country also faces increasingly serious conflicts between population, economy, society, resources and the environment.

The report said all the constraints and challenges require the government to review and improve the planning and strategy for population programs.

Malik also said that despite the marked progresses achieved in promoting economic sustainable development, families in China still have to tackle problems. These include including poverty alleviation, social security, migration, the threat of HIV/AIDS, and environmental and ecological degradation for their sustained growth.

Source: Xinhua

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