The family planning policy has helped China prevent 400 million births by the end of 2005, Zhang Weiqing, minister in charge of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, has said.
In an interview with Qiushi (Seeking Truth From Facts) magazine, he said thanks to hard efforts in the past three decades, China has curbed fast population growth and recorded low birth rate, reducing 300 million births by 1998 and 400 million births by 2005.
Government statistics show that there are 1.8 children for a Chinese couple on average, while the number of children for each couple came to six in the early 1970s when the family planning policy was just introduced.
The 400 million births, if not prevented, would postpone China's drive to build a well-off society, said Zhang.
Such an achievement should be recognized as many developed countries spent over a century before reaching low birth rates, he said.
Chinese population experts are predicting a mini-baby boom before 2010 as a result of the country's family planning laws.
However, Zhang Weiqing stressed that family planning laws would remain to stabilize the low birth rate.
The expected boom would be small compared to the previous ones in the early 1950s and 1960s and the late 1980s, he said.
Almost 100 million single children had been born since the initiation of the one-child policy in 1973. Most had reached the age of marriage and childbirth, he said.
Meanwhile, rural couples had been allowed to have a second child if the first was a girl since 1984. These children were also entering adulthood.
(Xinhua News Agency May 3, 2006)