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Last Updated: Monday, 16 October 2006, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
China in rural birth control bid
Boy and girl in China. File picture
There are far more boys than girls in China
China is to bring in new financial incentives to encourage people in rural areas to have fewer children in another bid to control its rising population.

From next year, parents in the countryside will get an annual payment when they reach the age of 60, provided they have only one child, or two girls.

A lack of social security in rural areas has encouraged some families to break China's one-child policy.

China's population is now 1.3bn, making it the most populous nation on earth.

Gender imbalance

From next year, parents aged over 60 who have only one child, or two girls, will receive 600 yuan ($76) - around a fifth of an average farmer's income - the China Daily reports.

The aim is to ease the burden on single children looking after elderly parents, the newspaper added.

It highlighted a survey in three rural provinces that found smaller families had reported financial problems.

Since 1979, families in China have been allowed to have just one child, or two in the countryside if the first is a girl.

Many people in the countryside traditionally only want a son, who they believe will carry on the family name and care for them in old age.

Critics of the one-child policy say it has encouraged the abandonment and infanticide of baby girls, and has led to a gender imbalance in Chinese society.

The number of men is thought to outnumber women in China by more than 60 million.




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