China on Monday marked the 20th anniversary of its 'one child' policy by promising to strengthen the fight to keep its vast population under control.
An editorial in the communist party's mouthpiece, ‘The
People's Daily’, said that the draconian family planning policy
launched in 1980 had lowered the population growth rate by one per cent per year in the 1990s. But it warned that the Chinese
population would continue to grow by 10 million people per
year over the next few decades.
According to official statistics, China's population
reached 1.259 billion at the end of last year and is due to
reach 1.4 billion around 2010 and 1.6 billion in 2050.
This will have an enormous impact on employment as well
as the economy and the environment, said the paper, calling
for legislation on birth control to be put in place as soon as
Currently China has no laws on population control, and it
merely implements directives from the party or the government.
The policy stipulates each couple living in the cities
should only have one child, unless one or both of the couple
are from an ethnic minority or they are both only children.
In most rural areas, a couple may have a second child
after a break of several years. But it is common to find
couples in the countryside with a large brood of children.
Despite forced abortions and severe financial penalties,
many couples still get around the law by sending the pregnant
woman to stay with relatives until the baby is born or
claiming the newborn baby was adopted or belongs to a friend