Only-child parents encouraged to have second baby
By Xiao Tang and Yanni (
Updated: 2006-09-29 16:51

Beijing is encouraging parents who were themselves the only sons or daughters to have a second baby to ease the city's aging population and labor shortage problems, a local family planning official announced Thursday.

The first family-planning theme park in Beijing located in Haidian District. [Beijing Times]

"This is applicable to only-child couples. There is no green light yet for those with higher education or good incomes," Li Yunli, a deputy head of the local family planning commission told the Beijing International, the municipal government's Internet portal on Thursday.

According to Li, the aging problem is expected to have a greater impact on farmers, since the social security and welfare system in the countryside is not as mature as that in cities, and the family planning policy is more for the benefit of farmers.

Family planning regulations enable farming couples to have a second child if their first is a girl.

"Only-child marriages are largely comprised of people born in the 1980s, and the structure of the population and age demographics have been taken into consideration in the decision to give them the green light in having a second child," Li said.

The population of people over 60 in Beijing hit 1.97 million by the end of 2004, making up 13 percent of the city's population. That number is expected to rise to 6.5 million, or 30 percent of the population, by 2050, according to a report carried by Xinhua on Friday.

Li said she hopes all couples that qualify will have second children to do their bit for the alleviation of the aging problem.

The population and family planning policy has been in place for 35 years, and the one-child policy was to put into practice in the 1980s, limiting urban families to one child, country and minority families to two children, although there are special allowances made depending on specific situations that at times permit these families to have more than two children.

The policy slowed China's population growth rate, optimizes the qualification of Chinese population, and promoted economic development.

Norwegian philosopher Gunnar Skirbekk, a Nobel peace prize judge, said China should be awarded the Nobel peace prize for its population and planning policy, as the population controls have not only benefited China, but have also had world-wide influence, according to an East Morning News report yesterday.