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On maintenance of the current family planning strategy

Q2: What is the rationale behind maintaining the current family planning strategy which restricts the possibility to have a second child? Why not extend it to all families, instead of only those with at least one “only-child” parent?

A2: China is the world’s most populous developing country, with a total population of 1.36 billion in 2013. This represents a serious challenge, with the excessive size of the Chinese population stretching the limits of our economy, social capacity, resources and environment. This creates long-term problems including weak economic infrastructure, low per capita resources, limited environmental capacity and uneven development across the country.

Currently, the Chinese population still has a considerable potential for growth. China currently counts more than 150 million one-child families. If the “two-child policy” were to apply to all, under the assumption that 70-80% of couples would wish to have two children, 90 million households could potentially have a second child. This would lead to a rapid increase in the number of births, adding some 20 million to the current annual total of 16 million. Such a situation would immediately put great strain on infrastructure such as healthcare and education.

With this in mind, carefully considered family planning policies are a crucial and basic pillar of our national development strategy, as outlined in the policy guidelines of the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee, the Chinese government needs to, on the one hand, maintain the current low birth rate, while, on the other, respond to changes in public opinions, economic and social development and demography. The changes reflect these concerns. The “two-child policy” will contribute to sustainable economic development, a healthy demography – tackling also the concerns of an aging society, family happiness and social harmony. The changes are also conducive to a balanced population growth of the Chinese nation in the long run. It should be noted also that China’s family planning strategy is not static, and this policy is expected to generate valuable experience and pave the way for further adjustment and improvements to our family planning in due course. The implementation of the new policy will be carefully carried out, and the shifts in the birth-rate will be consistently monitored and evaluated. The government will also step up its research into population development strategy, considering the potential of new policy ideas and programmes.

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