Family planning policy change too late for some
Updated: 2013-11-21 16:46
The country's average fertility rate is 1.5 births per woman. According to internationally accepted standards, the newborn population is not sufficient to offset aging and the working population will shrink when the fertility rate is lower than 2.1 births per woman.
According to Zhai, the fertility rate is unlikely to top 2 births per woman even after the new policy takes effect, which will hopefully be next year.
Others are even more agitated.
"In 2010, China's fertility rate was only 1.18 births per woman. It is high time for the country to scrap its one-child policy," said doctor-turned demographer Yi Fuxian.
He said the official fertility rate for last year was also exaggerated, indicating it was lower than 1.5 births per woman.
Yi, author of Big Country in an Empty Nest, a book that criticizes the family planning policy, has been calling for an end to birth limits for a decade, citing the low fertility rate, shrinking working population and rapidly aging society.
China has the largest senior population in the world, with 194 million people at or above the age of 60 at the end of last year, according to the China National Committee on Aging.
This age group is expected to grow to 243 million by 2020 and by 2050, one third of the Chinese population will be aged over 60.
"It's not enough to end the one-child policy," said Yi on his Weibo.com microblog. "The government should encourage young couples to have more children."
On his microblog, Yi quoted a letter from a young man who is seriously ill with uremia, a condition that results from kidney disease. "My mother is a peasant and my father is a rural school teacher. I am their only child," the letter said.
When he fell ill three years ago, his family almost fell apart. "My mother was so upset that she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and has been paralyzed ever since. My father is debt-laden and on the verge of breaking down."
The man, who did not give his name, said he felt extremely sorry for his parents. "Who will take care of them and keep them company after I die? If I had a brother or sister, I'd feel more relieved even if I have to die."