Beijing: China, the world`s most populous nation, on Friday said it would improve the controversial three decades old "one child" policy at an "appropriate time", even as the government was considering to relax it in view of a surge in ageing population.
"China will gradually improve the country`s population policy in accordance with its actual conditions," Deng Haihua, spokesperson for China`s National Health and Family Planning Commission told a press conference here.
Adjustments to the existing policy will be made on the basis of ample research and survey results to adapt to "economic and social development as well as long-term and balanced population development," Deng said, quoted by official Xinhua news agency.
The commission will introduce adjustment plans to the family planning policy "at an appropriate time", he said, citing a public health promotion plan released by the commission.
Deng, however, reaffirmed that China must adhere to the basic state policy of family planning.
He was reacting to assertions to assertions by Mao Qun`an, another spokesman for the commission who said last week that the government is deliberating whether to further relax the country`s "one-child" policy by allowing a couple in which only one party is an only child to have two children.
The policy brought about in 1978, restricts urban couples to only one child, while allowing additional children in several cases, including twins, rural couples, ethnic minorities, and couples who are both only children themselves.
According to last year`s report by the China Development Research Foundation, China had about 185 million people above the age of 60, or 13.7 percent of the population, as of the end of last year.
The figure is expected to surge to 221 million in 2015, including 51 million "empty nesters," or elderly people whose children no longer live with them, which makes it incumbent on the part government to improve their social security management involving large amount of funds.
The report recommended that China should consider adjusting its family planning policy, as structural problems have overtaken excessive growth as the most significant population-related problem.
Several cities including Shanghai have already relaxed the norm.
The problem was highlighted when a man killed two one child policy officials and injured several in Dongxing city last month for refusing to register his fourth child.
Officials however argue that the policy however prevented over 400 million births pegging the population to over 1.30 billion.