Family planning has been promoted as one of the basic state policies in China, combining government guidance with the voluntary compliance of citizens. The government guidance includes: The central and local governments make the policies and legislation for controlling the population increment, improving the population quality, and improving the population structure and the macro population development plans. Meanwhile, the governments also provide consultations, instructions and technical services concerning reproduction care, contraception and good birth and good rearing. Voluntary compliance means that couples at child-bearing age can, with the instruction of the relevant policies and regulations of the state, choose responsibly and in a planned way the proper contraception methods according to age, health, job and financial conditions.
The basic guidelines of family planning are late marriages and late childbearing, so as to have fewer but healthier babies, especially one child per couple. But a flexible family planning policy is adopted for rural people and ethnic minorities. In rural areas, couples may have a second baby in exceptional cases, but must wait several years after the birth of the first child. In areas inhabited by minority peoples, each ethnic group may work out different regulations in accordance with its wish, population, natural resources, economy, culture and customs: In general a couple may have a second baby, or a third child in some places. As for ethnic minorities with extremely small populations, a couple may have as many children as they want.
Since the initiation of the family planning policy, late marriage, late childbearing and fewer but healthier babies have become the accepted norms of most people in China.