Nation Sticks to Family Planning for Long Term

China will stick to its present family planning policy for the long term in order to keep a balance between population growth and social and economic development, a senior family planning official said December 19.

The central government has followed this policy since the 1970s, based on research into the actual economic and social conditions of the country. And the results have shown that it is the right option, said Zhang Weiqing, minister of the State Family Planning Commission.

If there had been no family planning, there would be 300 million more people in China Wednesday, and rural China, where about one-fifth of the world's population lives, would have difficulty feeding and improving living conditions for its people.

Poverty in China would be a disaster for the whole world, as it might affect world peace and stability, said the minister.

Speaking at a press conference organized by the State Council Information Office Tuesday in Beijing, Zhang pointed out that the family planning policy in China is not a "one-child policy," as many people especially Westerners think.

As early as the late 1970s, some provincial governments promulgated their local family planning regulations stipulating that couples who both came from one-child families, could have a second child, and that rural families whose first child was a girl could have a second child.

The policy is even more flexible among ethnic minorities. In the pastoral areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region, for example, there is no limitation on the number of children, and family planning workers work hard to provide them with adequate gynaecological services, Zhang said.

Although the country has achieved a low birth rate, it is hard work to keep the birth rate at this low level for a long time, he said.

Because of the huge population base, there are still some 10 million babies born every year, and gynaecological services need to be further improved to meet the heavy demands from the public, the minister said.

According to Zhang, the country is mapping out a law on population and family planning in order to better safeguard people's rights and ensure that the basic State policy of family planning is effectively implemented.

The law will place people at the centre of consideration and guarantee that all people of child-bearing age can obtain necessary gynaecological services.

Zhang is confident that the just concluded fifth population census is a success, not a failure as some media have reported.

Headed by the State Statistics Bureau and co-organized by a number of State departments, the census has finished its count and is summing up and analyzing the statistics, and the final results will be made public some time next year.

Answering a question about population development in the western regions of China, the minister stressed that the commission will launch several projects to help families which voluntarily follow the family planning policy develop household economy and improve their own economic circumstances.

The commission will also expand health care services for women and children so to reduce birth defects and improve the physical health of women.

Sources: China Daily

People's Daily Online ---