China may loosen family planning policy in Guangdong

10:52, March 15, 2011      

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Guangdong provincial leaders hope their region will be named the pilot area for a potential policy by China's National Population and Family Planning Commission that would allow couples in which either spouse is an only child to have a second child, a local official said on March 13.

Zhang Feng, deputy secretary general of Guangdong Provincial Government and director of the Guangdong Provincial Population and Family Planning Commission, said the policy, if adopted, may slow the trend of mainland Chinese mothers traveling to Hong Kong to give birth.

Population quality deserves greater attention than mere quantity, Zhang said on March 13 at the "Sexology and Eugenics Seminar," which was jointly held by the Chinese Medicine Development Research Council, Guangdong Sexology Association and other organizations.

Zhang also noted that the adoption of a second child policy depends on the growth rate of the national population.

"China's population is still increasing rapidly and is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2033, so there will not be any decisive changes in the short term," he said.

However, he acknowledged that minor adjustments to the family planning policy will be necessary given a series of problems caused by the disproportionately large number of only children in certain metropolises.

Statistics show that China's total fertility rate stands at 1.7, meaning 1.7 births per woman over her lifetime. But the rate may rise to between 1.9 and 2 if the one child policy is loosened, Zhang said. He said that pilot regions, if possible, should be selected from candidate cities with low fertility rates.

Zhang said that it would be unrealistic to expect a complete removal of the second child restrictions during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015). At the earliest it will have to wait at least until after the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).

By People's Daily Online
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