Relaxation of one-child policy still being mulled

Updated: 2013-08-03 04:12


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BEIJING - China is still deliberating whether to further relax the country's one-chid policy by allowing a couple in which only one party is an only child to have two children, a spokesman for the country's health and family planning authority said Friday.

Mao Qun'an, spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, made the statement in response to media attention on China's population policies. The current policy requires that to have a second child, the father and the mother must be both only children.

Mao reaffirmed that China must adhere to the basic state policy of family planning for a long period of time.

He explained that because the country's basic conditions still include a huge population, weak economic foundations, sparse per capita resources and insufficient environmental capacity, the population will continue to put pressure on and strain the economy, society, resources and the environment.

However, Mao said that one of the recently restructured commission's major tasks lies in improving the family planning policy. It is organizing surveys and studies on the correlations between the size, quality, structure and distribution of China's population.

To improve population policies, Mao said, China must maintain the current low birth rate while also taking into consideration the public's needs, social and economic development, and changes in the population structure.

The family planning policy was first introduced in the late 1970s to rein in China's surging population by encouraging late marriages and pregnancies, as well as limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two children, if the first one is a girl.

Under the policy, most couples born in urban areas in the 1980s come from single-child families.

The policy was relaxed around 2007, allowing couples in all Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, except for Henan province, in which both parents come from single-child families to give birth to two children.

Henan province adopted the relaxed family planning policy in 2011.