VIII-10 Question: It has been widely surmised by the international media for some time that China will change its family planning policy. Is this true? What is the current situation vis-a-vis China's population? What is the government's general strategy regarding China's population expansion, and what is the target?
A: It is groundless to assume that China will make any changes in its family planning policy. China is the most populous developing country in the world, and the population issue has always been one of the key problems of the country in terms of its overall harmonious and sustainable development. It is true that just because of the implementing of the family planning policy, the population of China has decreased by at least 400 million in the past 30 years, which is the total population of the West European countries. If the policy is not implemented, China's goal of becoming a well-off country will be difficult to achieve. The family planning policy has made a great contribution to China's social development.
In the first half of the 21st century, China will face severe challenges with respect to its population. It will witness three population booms -- a total population boom, a labor force boom and a senior citizen boom. These booms will combine to affect the construction of a well-off society and raise great demand for its public management and services. If China adjusts its population policy right now, that will surely lead to a rebound and a rise in population, which will bring about much pressure on the development of the country in the future. The relationship between population, resources and environment will become more and more strained, and the conflict between the people and the environment will be much sharper. As a result, the sustainable development of China will be slowed down and the entire economic and social development of the country will be heavily hit for a rather long period.
Population is a complicated problem in all countries, and every country has to deal with it according to its own domestic situation. The family planning policy here was fixed after several adjustments over the past three decades and is acceptable to most of the people. So, China has to continue its current birth control policy at least for the first two decades of this century.
At present, the population development strategy in China has been made already, which attempts to regulate the population of the whole nation to within 1.36 billion by 2010, and control the population to within 1.45 billion by 2020; as such, the quality of the population has improved by a large margin. By the middle of the century, the country will try to ensure the population peaks at around 1.5 billion, with our per capita income reaching the level of a medium developed country. At the same time, the Chinese Government will make efforts to increase the quality of the population, improve its structure, and impose a rational distribution and orderly flow of population, aiming to change China from a purely populous country to a country with high-quality people.