China may have modified its controversial three decades-old one child policy this year replacing it with two children, but President Xi Jinping has said restrictions on child births will continue as “tensions” between population, resources and environment will not change.
China must adhere to the basic state policy of family planning for the long term, Xi said in a written instruction to a Family Planning Association meeting here yesterday.
“The population issue has always been an overall, long-term, strategic issue facing our country. For quite a long time in the future, China’s basic national condition of a large population will not fundamentally change. The population pressure on economic and social development will not fundamentally change.
“The tensions between population and resources and environment will not fundamentally change,” Xi, also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said.
Defending the one-child policy, Xi spoke highly of the efforts of the family planning association over the years, saying it should earnestly perform its duties, guide the people to correctly understand the adjustment to the family planning policy and provide relevant services.
Since January 1, China has allowed all married couples to have two children. This follows an earlier easing of the policy in 2013 that allowed couples to have a second child if either parent was an only child. The latest change ended the “one child” policy this year which was implemented in the late 1970 as China faced demographic crisis.
The number of those aged between 16 and 59 will decrease to 896 million in 2020 and 824 million in 2030, while those aged 60 and over will grow to 253 million in 2020 and 365 million in 2030, a report by the Population and Development Studies Centre at the Renmin University of China said.
Premier Li Keqiang said China is at a critical juncture for converting its large population into rich human resources.
Unleashing the full potential of human resources is crucial for the country to maintain a medium-to-high economic growth rate over the long term and develop the economy to a medium-to-high level, he said.
The policy switch allowing each household to have a second child has raised new requirements for family planning work, Li said, encouraging the association to continue to press ahead with their services.
The association offers help to families that have lost their only child. Since 2012, the association has invested nearly 200 million yuan (USD 30.6 million) in reaching out to these families, benefiting over 110,000 people, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
China is world’s most populous country with 1.361 billion people followed by India with 1.25 billion.