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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 11:24 GMT
China one-child rule 'to remain'
Parents with their child in Harbin, northern China, file image
Officials admit the one-child rule is often flouted by richer families
The Chinese leadership has denied suggestions that it is about to alter its controversial one-child policy.

Family planning chief Zhang Weiqing said there would be no change in the rule limiting families in cities to one child and those in rural areas to two.

His comments come a week after another family planning official said a policy change was under discussion.

The rule has been blamed for creating a gender imbalance, with families eager to have boys rather than a girls.


Correspondents say many in China think the one-child rule is unsustainable in the long term.

But Mr Zhang, director of the State Population and Family Planning Commission, denied the policy would be overhauled.

"Changes to the family planning policy now could lead to population rises, posing higher pressure on China's future development," the Xinhua state news agency quoted him as saying.

Last week Zhao Baige, the vice-minister at the National Population and Family Planning Commission, told reporters she wanted an "incremental" change in the policy, although she said some form of population control would remain in place.

From time to time China has considered changes to its one-child policy but has always backed off, fearing a massive spike in population growth.

Strict family-planning controls were introduced during the 1970s to combat China's soaring population.

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