China's family planning does not depend on induced abortion but benefit from good contraceptive measures encouraged and funded by the government, population experts said.
The rate of induced abortion in China was much lower than the average level worldwide, according to Chinese population experts who attended the 6th Asia-Pacific Social Science and Medicine Conference held last week in Kunming City in southwest China.
As a means to control birthrate, induced abortion is widely used in many countries. In another word, a falling birthrate is usually followed with more induced abortions, according to the experts. However, that does not happen in China.
Though the number of induced abortions is big due to China's large population, the rate is much lower than those in Japan, the Republic of Korea and eastern European countries.
Statistics show the abortion rate in China was 1.7 in 1983, which meant a woman would abort 1.7 children in her lifetime on average. This figure was the highest rate in New China. Anyway, itremains much lower than the present levels in the world.
During the 1960s, the abortion rate was 5 to 7 in the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Romania. In the late 1950s, the figure for Japan was 4. In the early 1980s, the rate was nearly 3 in the Republic of Korea.
From 1971 to 1981, the average number of children a Chinese woman of child-bearing age would have in her life fell from 5.4 to2.72. The drop in the birthrate was influenced by many factors, with contraception the most important during this period and abortion the least important factor.
"The Chinese government calls for young women of child-bearing age to take contraceptive measures," said Chen Wei, a demographer at the Demography and Development Research Center at China's People's University.
The government also emphasized delaying marriage and pregnancy to control the country's birthrate.
"China has become a nation with a low birthrate and also a low abortion rate by the end of the 20th century," Chen said, adding that the induced abortion rate fell rapidly in China with the adjustment of its family planning policy and the promotion of medical services for childbirth.
(People's Daily October 23, 2002)