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China to Adhere Family Planning Policy
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The Chinese government will adhere to the basic policy of family planning with improved services and stronger leadership, said Premier Wen Jiabao at a national conference.

Family planning was crucial to China's modernization and the building of a harmonious society, Wen told the national conference on population and family planning held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The priority and the most difficult task of family planning was in the countryside, where maintaining a low birth rate was crucial, said Wen, calling for extended coverage of rewards and subsidies for rural people.

The administration and service should be improved to grant subsidies and social insurance in encouraging birth control, and more needy families should be covered by social assistance schemes.

Family planning among migrant workers needed to be strengthened as well, Wen added.

He stressed that the Party committees and local governments must enhance leadership and improve the working and living conditions of the family planning personnel.

State Councilor Hua Jianmin said local governments should give the same free birth control services to migrant workers as they give to local residents.

Hua said gender identification for non-medical purposes would be severely punished and policies advocating the rights of girls and women as well as gender equality and birth control would be carried out.

The prevention and intervention of birth defects would be strengthened too, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2006)

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