Beijing will not ease restrictions on the birth of
a second child for people with higher educational qualifications, and the
second-child policy is still mainly open to rural residents and couples from
"Beijing's current family planning policy will not change," Li Yunli, deputy
head of the Beijing Municipal Population and Family Planning Committee, said
during a live chat on Beijing Official Website International on Thursday.
The remarks were in response to heated discussions in recent years over
whether the city would allow couples with college degrees to have a second
"Those people are actually not necessarily well-rounded in other areas since
personality quality is a complicated issue and certainly not guaranteed by
higher education," Li said. "For example, their babies might not be as
physically strong as those in rural areas.
"Urban residents enjoy much better social security policies than their rural
peers. In turn, rural residents receive preferential treatment with regard to a
China's family planning policy encourages couples, apart from those from
ethnic minority groups, to have only one child to restrain population expansion.
Couples that meet certain conditions can have a second child.
Li also encouraged couples who themselves were only-children to have a second
"This would help solve labour shortages and deal with the challenge of an
ageing population," Li said.
Beijing's population aged 60 and above reached 1.97 million at the end of
2004, making up 13 per cent of the city's population.
The number is estimated to rise to 6.5 million by 2050, accounting for 30 per
cent of the city's population.
According to China's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) on ageing, China will have
more than 174 million senior citizens by 2010, accounting for 12.78 per cent of
the population, compared with the current figure of 143 million.
However, Yu Xuejun, director of the policy and legislative department of the
State Population and Family Planning Commission, disagreed with Li.
"China cannot rely on the birth of more children to solve ageing issues," Yu
told China Youth Daily on Thursday. "The best solutions are to boost economic
development and build an effective social security system, especially in rural
"Ageing is a global issue. Many factors may affect it, including birth rate,
anticipated longevity and population migration."
In China, besides family planning, extended longevity is another important
factor, with average life expectancy increasing from 67 in 1981 to 73 today.
"Family planning maybe not that perfect," Yu said, "but it will be a
long-term fundamental national policy for the most populous country in the
(China Daily 09/30/2006 page2)