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China Talks about Sex, Health, Life
China has made progress in improving citizens' health and reducing poverty, a top family planning official said yesterday.

Yang Fukui, executive vice-director of the China Family Planning Association, said at a conference marking the 13th annual World Population Day, yesterday, that his association have attracted 83 million members across China, and policies have penetrated into nearly every family in China.

"Women's positions have greatly improved in society, and old sexist ideas have been largely conquered," Yang said.

His association is now implementing sex education programmes for women's groups and youth to teach family planning, healthy child bearing and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

China now has nearly 1.3 billion people, and 70 percent of them are now living in less-developed rural areas.

Yang said the Chinese Government and his association provide technical and economic support to poverty-stricken people, especially women, in remote areas.

Despite its huge population, China's population growth rate has remained below 1.25 percent between 1990 and 2000 thanks to its family planning policy.

Yang said his association will continue to work with international societies to help achieve sustainable development and control the population within a reasonable range.

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, emphasized the importance of family planning.

She said women in the developing world are having half as many children as they did in the 1960s, down from an average of six children per family to three. The last two generations of women have chosen to have smaller families and the next generation will do the same if they have access to education and reproductive health services, she said.

But despite those numbers, 350 million couples still do not have access to a range of effective and affordable family planning services and demand for these services is expected to increase by 40 percent in the next 15 years.

"When couples can choose the number, timing and spacing of their children, they are better able to ensure there are enough resources for each family member to prosper and thrive," she said.

(China Daily July 12, 2002)

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