China to maintain family planning policy
Beijing: China will not change the basis of its one-child policy, despite the recent decision to merge the health ministry with the commission formed to monitor demographic indexes, a senior official said.
Wang Feng, the vice president of the Public Sector Reform Office, commented Monday after it became known Sunday that the health ministry and the Commission for Family Planning would be fused into a single new entity to be called the National Commission for Health and the Family.
Wang said that the future Commission "will strengthen the start-up of the family planning policy from the institutional point of view".
"Incorporating the population, well-being and health management into a single entity will increase efficiency and will facilitate administrative functions," said Hu Yonghua, a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Beijing.
"China still needs to maintain its family planning policy, but the most important thing is to improve the quality of life of its population," Hu said in remarks quoted by the official news agency Xinhua.
Currently, in China's cities only couples where both husband and wife are only children are authorized to have two children themselves. In the rural areas, a second child is allowed if the first child born is a girl.
The one-child policy was implemented in the late 1970s to put the brakes on population growth in the Asian giant and, according to government statistics, it has managed to reduce annual demographic growth from 1.35 million new citizens per year in 1980 to 630,000 now.