Monday, 27 September 2010

China's one-child policy

China marked 30 years of its one-child policy over the weekend. The People's Daily reports:

China's one-child policy has proved to be efficient for population control and economic development, despite concerns over gender imbalance and an aging population as a result of the 30-year-old program, demographers said Saturday...

On September 25, 1980, the Communist Party of China Central Committee issued an open letter calling for CPC and Communist Youth League members to have only one child in a bid to keep the population below 1.2 billion by 2000 and to improve Chinese people's livelihood...

Vice Premier Li Keqiang said earlier this week that China would stick to its national family planning policy and advance the balanced development of the population in the long term.

However, Zhang Feng, director of Guangdong provincial population and family planning commission, said his province will relax the one-child policy. "Guangdong will gradually allow qualified couples - with either the husband or wife being the only child - to have a second child after 2020. And all couples in the province will be allowed to have a second child starting 2030," Zhang was quoted by the Southern Metropolis Daily as saying.

As it is, the one-child policy has slowed population growth to an extent that it could create problems in the future.

However, Wu Yaowu, a senior researcher specializing in population economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Beijing-based Global Times that the population decline may slow down the country's GDP growth in the future.

"Population is a kind of capital. With an insufficient workforce, economic growth will slow down," Wu said.

In fact, the turning point could come soon. Wang Feng and Andrew Mason projected in a UN paper that the ratio between producers and consumers will peak in 2013. "Labour-force growth will cease altogether by 2020 and turn strongly negative thereafter," they projected.

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