With tremendous efforts made in the implementation of a population and family planning program during the past decades, great achievements have been scored, with excessive population growth brought under effective control, Zhang Weiqing, minister of the State Family Planning Commission, said at a press conference sponsored by the Information Office of the State Council in Beijing on December 19.
The past 20-odd years witnessed a reduction of more than 300 million birth, which has helped to alleviate the pressure upon resources and environment in addition to reduce the social cost for the upbringing of children, said Zhang.
According to him, the Chinese government pays great attention to the issue of population and has tackled it as an issue of considerable magnitude for a long time.
After the introduction of the reform and opening policies late in the 1970s, China formulated a basic state policy to promote family planning in an all-round way so as to slow down population growth and improve its quality in terms of health and education. The government encourages late marriage and late childbearing, and advocated the practice of “one couple, one child” and of “having a second child with proper spacing in accordance with laws and regulations”. Family planning is also advocated among the ethnic minorities. Various provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government have formulated their own policies and regulations according to local conditions.
At the conference, Zhang also pointed out that the contradiction between population and development in China has remained sharp, and there are still many difficulties and challenges. The population growth will continue for a prolonged period of time, with an annual net increase of over 10 million in the next decade or so, which will exert great pressure on economy, society, resources, environment and the sustained development as a whole. It is difficult to change entirely the relatively low-level population quality in a short time, which is incompatible with the rapid development of science and technology. Meanwhile the service cannot meet the need of the people who require less but healthy babies.
As a result, Zhang said, the future work is more arduous and cannot be slack. The Chinese government firmly believes that China’s population and development cause will develop further in the 21st century and China will make still greater contribution to the civilization and progress of mankind, he added.