One-child policy here to stay, says China
China will continue to limit most families to just one child in the coming decades, state media said yesterday, despite concerns about the policy's problematic side effects, such as too few girls and a rapidly ageing population.
China has the world's largest population and credits its 30-year-old family planning limits with preventing 400 million additional births and helping to break a traditional preference for large families that had left many trapped in poverty.
There had been growing speculation about whether the government would relax the policy, allowing more people to have two children. A family planning official in the southern province of Guangdong had predicted his province would loosen the restrictions by 2015.
But the 'China Daily' newspaper yesterday quoted Li Bin, head of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, as saying there were no changes planned.
The family planning rules, which limit urban couples to one child and rural couples to two, have curbed China's population growth but brought new problems, such as an expanding elderly population that demographers say will be increasingly hard to support.
The policy is also blamed for the country's skewed sex ratio. Chinese families with a strong preference for boys sometimes resort to aborting their baby girls. Demographers worry the imbalance will make it hard for men to find wives.
The male-female ratio at birth in China is about 119 males to 100 females, with the gap as high as 130 males for every 100 females in some provinces. In industrialised countries, the ratio is 107 to 100.