China's already-low population growth rate will gradually diminish to zero within decades if the country maintains a low birth rate, a top family planning official said Friday in Beijing.
The Chinese population will peak at 1.6 billion before it begins to decline, predicted Zhang Weiqing, minister of the State Family Planning Commission, at a mass gathering.
Several thousands of people from all walks of life attended the mass meeting to mark the one-year anniversary of the decision by the State Council to maintain a low birth rate.
Representatives from Beijing institutes of higher learning signed their names on a long silk scroll that bears the slogan, "Choice on reproduction of the human being will determine the future of the world." The scroll, also signed by officials and gathering participants, was presented to the State Family Planning Commission.
"It is crucial for China to maintain a low fertility level, especially in the first decade of the new century," Zhang said, "Overpopulation is the most important factor that impairs China's economic and social development."
Thus, the implementation of population and family planning policies should be given top priority for sustainable development, the minister said.
Zhang urged family planning departments on all levels to help resolve the nation's population-related issues such as economic development, poverty relief, environmental protection, family welfare and education.
Publicity will be further extended to disseminate population-related knowledge, improve reproductive health care services and help people improve their standards of living.
The gathering also included reproductive health care consultation and exhibition.
(China Daily 03/03/2001)