BEIJING -- More than 76 percent of "coarsely-worded" slogans on walls in China's rural areas that ask people to have fewer children have been replaced by "civilized", "warm" and "humanistic" ones, according to China's family planning authority.
The Center for International Communications Studies of Tsinghua University, in Beijing, entrusted by the National Population and Family Planning Commission, conducted a survey on 2,787 family planning slogans nationwide and surveyed residents in Beijing, Henan, Guangdong, Gansu and Sichuan.
More than a quarter of the respondents said they had seen the new slogans more than three times over the last 30 days and 43 percent of the respondents believed the posters were a more favourable way of acknowledging state policy.
The new slogans include "healthy childbearing", "reproductive health", "rearing better children", "care for girls", "male health" and "aging population", and the wording focuses on expressions like "love", "health", "life" and "happiness" in more amiable slogans such as "The mother earth is too tired to sustain more children" and "Both boys and girls are in parents' hearts".
In an effort to win more understanding for the country's population control policy, the commission in early August decided to begin swapping offensive and bad-taste slogans with 190 recommended ones which it said had been selected through a national collection campaign.
Many slogans promoting the policy are poorly worded, or full of strong language that leaves the impression of simply forcing people to give up having more babies, causing misunderstanding about the policy and even tarnishing the image of the government, the commission said at the time.
The controversial slogans ranged from "Raise fewer babies but more piggies" to the more aggressive "Houses toppled, cows confiscated, if abortion demand rejected" and "One more baby means one more tomb."
The family planning policy, implemented in 1979, advocates one child for each family.
The policy has reduced China's population by millions and avoided an otherwise explosive growth of its population, which currently stands at around 1.3 billion.
However, the traditional idea that more children bring more happiness still prevails in rural areas, challenging the country's population control efforts. And the traditional preference for boys sometimes leads to selective abortion and a worrying gender imbalance.