The 21st century is approaching. With the rapid development of science and technology and the swift changes in the world economic order and patterns, population and development have further become an important issue, which draws general concern of the international community. It is the common choice of all countries to seek a way to achieve sustainable development with population, economy, society, resources and environment all in harmony.

China is a developing country with the biggest population in the world. A sample survey shows that China's population had reached 1.26 billion by the end of 1999 (excluding the population of the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions and Taiwan Province), accounting for about 21% of the world population. In order to better understand the law governing and trend of the population change, further slow-down population growth, improve population quality, and properly formulate a population policy and social and economic development plan for the 21st century, the Chinese Government conducted its fifth national population census in November 2000. The result will be published in time once all data are processed.

China has a huge population, but a weak economic foundation with relatively inadequate resources per capita. These are its basic national conditions. Many contradictions and problems in China's economic and social development are closely associated with the issue of population, which has become the key factor and primary problem restricting China's economic and social development. Whether the population problem can be properly solved has the direct bearing on the improvement of the population quality and the living standards of the Chinese people, as well as the prosperity of the Chinese nation. It also concerns the world peace and development.

In line with the strategic goal of the nation's modernization drive and proceeding from national conditions, the Chinese Government has formulated and implemented a population policy which conforms to China's reality and has greatly contributed to the stabilization of the national and the world population and to the promotion of human development and progress. The Chinese Government is willing to continue its efforts together with the international community to practically solve the problem of population and development. The Chinese Government firmly believes that China's population and development cause will develop further in the 21st century and that China will make still greater contribution to the civilization and progress of mankind!