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Population Control Policy to Continue

On Wednesday the State Commission for Population and Family Planning said that China's population control policy will remain in place for a long period to come, despite having achieved a low birthrate.

According to the commission, the average number of children per family dropped from 5.8 in the early 1970s to 1.8 at present, as a result of unremitting efforts over the past three decades.

"A large population remains a major issue for China at present and a key factor obstructing economic and social development," said an official with the commission. "Family planning will continue to be a fundamental policy that we must adhere to."

The commission says that over 16 million babies have been born annually since 2000; roughly equivalent to half the population of Canada and three times that of Denmark.

"For the next twelve years, China is projected to continue to have a huge population and sustained population growth," the official said. "If the family planning policy was loosened, the country would very likely experience a boost in population growth."

The Chinese mainland's 1.3 billionth citizen, a baby boy, was born at 0:02 AM on Thursday in a Beijing hospital.

"Both mother and son are in good condition," said midwife Wang Chujie of Beijing Maternity Hospital.

Of the total mainland population, 59.47 percent are based in rural areas and 40.53 percent in urban areas. Average life expectancy is 71.40 years.

(Xinhua News Agency January 6, 2005)

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