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China's top statistician suggests "scientific" population policy


16:35, January 18, 2013

BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- China needs an "appropriate and scientific" population policy in line with demographic changes, a top statistician said Friday.

Ma Jiantang, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) director, told a press conference that there had been shifts in the country's demographic and labor supply patterns after decades of the family planning policy.

Ma was referring NBS figures that showed a decrease in the working-age population last year, which he said was the first drop in "a considerable period of time."

The working-age population in China decreased by 3.45 million to 937.27 million in 2012 from a year earlier, according to NBS data released Friday.

"I can't deny that I'm worried about this problem," Ma told reporters.

However, he said the family planning policy should still be adhered to, noting that the policy has played a crucial role in helping reduce the birth rate and facilitating the country's sustainable, healthy development.

China's population stood at 1.354 billion at the end of last year, 6.69 million more than that at the end of 2011, the NBS said.

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