BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Beijing
The policy has led to forced abortions, sterilisation and even to the killing some newborn infants
 real 28k

Monday, 25 September, 2000, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
China steps up 'one child' policy
China family
China says population control must be a permanent policy
China is redoubling controversial efforts to control its population by limiting couples to one child.

We cannot just be content with the current success, we must make population control a permanent policy

People's Daily
The one-child policy was introduced to ensure that China, which has historically been prone to floods and famine, could feed all its people.

Government officials said the policy was a great success, preventing at least 250 million births since 1980.

An editorial in the Communist Party newspaper, The People's Daily, said: "We cannot just be content with the current success, we must make population control a permanent policy".

China's population is expected to increase from 1.26 billion at the end of last year to 1.6 billion in 2050.

Females killed

The 'one child' policy stipulates each couple living in the cities should only have one child, unless one or both of the couple are from an ethnic minority or they are both only children.

Baby boom: But many couples get round the laws
In most rural areas, a couple may have a second child after a break of several years.

Critics of the policy maintain it has led in some case to the killing of female infants because of the traditional preference for boys.

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

Last week it was reported that Chinese police had detained three officials who caused the death of a baby in central China while enforcing the birth control rules.

But it is common to find couples in the countryside, where 80% of the population live, with a large number of children.

Forced abortions

Despite forced abortions and severe financial penalties, many couples still get around the law by sending the pregnant woman to stay with relatives until the baby is born or claiming the newborn baby was adopted or belongs to a friend or relative.

Backed by the punitive sanctions, the 'one child' policy has generally worked in the cities.

The China Youth Daily said the 'one child' had also allowed many children in the countryside to get a better education.

The price of school fees has risen rapidly in the countryside - representing around 27% of the total budget of an average family with just one child, and therefore acts as a strong deterrent to having more children.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

22 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese officials held over baby death
19 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
China targets religious group
Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories