Family planning slogans given makeover

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-08-06 06:37

Family planning slogans like "Raise fewer babies but more piggies" and "Houses toppled, cows confiscated, if abortion demand rejected" have been in the spotlight lately.

But the coarsely worded messages might soon become a thing of the past as the National Population and Family Planning Commission is to replace them with more amiable ones in a bid to promote better understanding of the government's population control policy.

In a circular issued last week, the commission ordered local officials to substitute all offensive slogans with a choice of 190 recommended ones selected via a national campaign.

"Currently, many slogans are poorly worded, or full of strong language that leave an impression of people being forced to stop having more babies, causing misunderstanding of the policy and even tarnishing the image of the government," the circular said.

The new alternatives, which say such things as: "Mother Earth is too tired to sustain more children" and "Both boys and girls are in parents' hearts", are posted on the commission's website.

Implemented in 1979, the family planning policy limits most families to having just one child, although ethnic minority couples can have more.

The policy has helped China slow the rate of its population growth and delayed by four years the 1.3 billion figure reached in 2005.

However, the traditional preference for boys still prevails in rural areas, challenging the population control efforts.

"Affectionate slogans which play up gender equality and economic development can be more persuasive," Fang Dayue, a village cadre in Anqing, Anhui Province, said.

The population authority has also spelt out new rules for college students with children.

In a circular issued last week, it said universities are not allowed to dispel pregnant students and must help settle residential registration for their babies. The circular, jointly released by the commission and ministries of education and public security, advised female students to "temporarily suspend schooling during the childbearing period" to "ensure the health of mother and child".

The circular also said that student couples can register babies with the residence of their grandparents and re-register them with their own residence after they graduate.

The Ministry of Education lifted the ban on marriage and childbearing in universities in 2003, but cases in which pregnant college students have been expelled have been reported.

(China Daily 08/06/2007 page3)

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