China's population to reach peak
Updated: 2006-10-10 11:36

China's population will reach the peak in the first half of the 21st century, said Zhao Baige, Vice Minister of the State Commission of Population and Family Planning on Monday.

Thanks to the family planning policy implemented in the 1970s the growth of China's population has slowed but continues to expand by eight million to 10 million a year, said Zhao. At this rate China will add the equivalent of Australia's population to its own population every two years.

Zhao said 800,000 to 1.2 million babies are born every year with birth defects. The population of handicapped people has topped 60 million, which is equal to the population of France.

Meanwhile, China's elderly population has outpaced security and social services. Currently 7 percent of the total population are over the age of 65. Zhao urged new policies be drafted to ensure their quality of life after retirement.

Zhao was speaking at the ongoing 14th World Productivity Congress (WPC) in Shenyang, capital city of northeast China's Liaoning Province. With the theme of Pursuing Scientific and Sustainable Growth in Productivity and Performance, the meeting has attracted some 1,000 Chinese and international participants from industry, commerce and public services.

This is the second time China has hosted the congress, the first time was in 2001.